Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles usually causes a painful rash that develops on one side of the body, often in a band-like pattern.
If you suspect you have shingles, it is important to see a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis. A healthcare provider can diagnose shingles based on your symptoms and a physical examination.
In some cases, your healthcare provider may take a sample of the fluid from a blister and send it to a laboratory to confirm the presence of the varicella-zoster virus.
Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests to check for the presence of antibodies to the varicella-zoster virus. These tests can help to confirm a diagnosis of shingles, especially if the rash is not present or is not typical.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you have shingles, as early treatment with antiviral medication can help to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.