Some people experience pain, itching, or tingling before the rash appears, or numbness localized to the area where it will develop. This may happen 48–72 hours before the rash appears.2 It can take up to 4 weeks for the rash to heal.1

You may also experience fever, headache, chills or upset stomach. 8,13

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your healthcare professional.



Possible Complications of Shingles

While most people recover fully, some people may experience complications. These can include:

Postherpetic Postherpetic

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN):

Nerve pain that persists after the shingles rash has healed, which can last for months or years in the same area where they had the rash. It can be more common and more severe in older people than in younger people. Up to 25% of people with shingles may develop PHN.2

Ophthalmic Ophthalmic

Ophthalmic disease:

Ophthalmic complications occur in up to 50% of people with herpes zoster opthalmicus (HZO), a shingles rash that involves the eye or nose. Up to 30% of people with HZO may develop double vision. Damage to the optic nerve of the eye is rare and occurs in less than 0.5% of people with HZO.3

Neurological Neurological

Neurological problems:

Neurological complications such as encephalitis (swelling of the brain) are rare and estimated to occur in up to 1% of people who get shingles.3-4

Hearing Hearing

Hearing problems and altered balance:

In rare cases, the shingles virus can reactivate in the hearing system, leading to herpes zoster oticus. Symptoms include hearing impairment, vertigo, tinnitus, severe facial pain, and facial paralysis (Ramsay Hunt Syndrome).5,9 Problems with balance may develop in up to 1% of people with shingles.9

†This is not an exhaustive list of complications which can arise from shingles. Please speak to a healthcare professional for more information.


Prevention and treatment options

If you’re 50 years of age or older, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about getting vaccinated.

Shingles Prevention Options

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the virus that remains in your body for life after you have had chickenpox. If you haven’t had chickenpox, avoiding contact with active chickenpox and shingles cases, hand hygiene and cough hygiene may reduce your risk of developing chickenpox.6-7,10

Download our shingles discussion guide and speak to your healthcare professional about how you can prevent yourself against shingles.




Don’t wait, contact your doctor as soon as possible if you think you have a case of shingles. Your doctor will also be able to advise you on how to manage any symptoms you may be experiencing.


  1. NHS, Shingles. February 2018. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/shingles/, Accessed July 2022.
  2. Zoster vaccine for Australian adults. National Center for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) Fact Sheet, June 2021. Available at https://ncirs.org.au/ncirs-fact-sheets-faqs/zoster-vaccine-australian-adults, Accessed July 2022.
  3. Kedar S, Jayagopal LN, Berger JR. Neurological and Opthalmological Manifestations of Varicella Zoster Virus. J Neuroophthalmol. June 2019. Available at Journal of Neuro-Opthalmology, pages 220-231, Accessed July 2022.
  4. Espiritu, Rachel MD; Rich Michael MD Herpes Zoster Encephalitis, Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice, July 2007 - Volume 15 - Issue 4 - p 284-288 doi: 10. 1097/IPC.0b013e31803126f4, Accessed July 2022.
  5. SAGE. Cohen BE, Durstenfeld A, Roehm PC. Trends in Hearing, July 2014- Volume 18- p1-28, Accessed July 2022.
  6. Mayo Clinic. Shingles Symptoms and Causes, January 2019. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/symptoms-causes/syc-20353054?p=1, Accessed July 2022.
  7. Bollaerts, et. al. Epidemiology and Infection, October 2017. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMCS647669/, Accessed July 2022.
  8. MedicalNewsToday. What to expect when you have shingles, March 2018. Available at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321198#_noHeaderPrefixedContent, Accessed July 2022.
  9. Crouch AE, NCBI Bookshelf, May 2022. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557409/, Accessed July 2022.
  10. Healthline. Chickenpox Prevention: How to Avoid the Varicella-Zoster Virus, February 2019. Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/chicken-pox-prevention, Accessed July 2022.
  11. Healthline. What Does Shingles Look Like?, June 2021. Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/shingles-pictures, Accessed July 2022.
  12. Herpes Zoster: Postherpetic Neuralgia and Other Complications; Chapter11; Drolet M; October 2017; Pages 119-14, Accessed July 2022.
  13. MedicineNet. Patient Comments: Shingles-Symptoms & Signs, September 2013. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/shingles-pictures#first-symptoms, Accessed July 2022.