Pharmacy Corner
Shingles: Protect yourself What happens when a person has shingles?


Shingles starts with some pain or tingling on the part of the body where the rash will appear. This can happen 1-5 days before the rash appears. Next, a raised blistery rash appears. Over the next 7-10 days the blisters break open, leak fluid and crust over. It may take more than 4 weeks for these blisters to fully heal. Keep the rash covered until it is fully crusted over to prevent transmission.

Is shingles dangerous?

Shingles can cause serious problems in some people. These include:

  • Some people with shingles will have pain that lasts months to years after the rash has healed. It happens in about 1 in 5 people with shingles. This is one of the reasons why prevention is so important.
  • Shingles can affect the eye and cause vision loss in approximately 10-20% of people.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 people with shingles will need to be hospitalized and in rare cases it may even result in death.


Other complications include:2

  • Scarring
  • Skin infection
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Loss of hearing or vision