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Almost all Australian adults have the
virus that causes shingles within them.

There is no way to know when shingles will strike.

What is shingles?

  • Shingles is typically a painful, blistering skin rash which usually appears as a band or belt on one side of the body. Tender, painful skin signals the start of shingles. The skin then turns red and breaks out in tiny fluid-filled blisters.
  • Most people carry the virus that causes shingles within them.
  • Most people find out about shingles once it’s too late. Shingles can be recognised by an outbreak of a painful rash or blisters on the skin which are isolated to one side of the body.
  • While shingles often resolves without complications, some people may continue to experience ongoing nerve pain for months or even years after the rash has healed. For older Australians, shingles can be serious, as the complications of shingles are more common and more severe with increasing age. A common debilitating complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a form of nerve pain, which is difficult to treat and may persist for months or even years, long after the rash has healed.
*May not be representative of every patient's experience of shingles.
Ophthalmic shingles
Thoracic shingles
Thoracic shingles

What causes shingles?

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Almost all Australian adults have the virus that causes shingles within them.
The risk of shingles
increases with age.
may develop shingles in their lifetime and the risk of developing shingles increases with age.

Can I avoid getting shingles?

Talk to your doctor about government funded prevention and treatments options.

Can shingles be treated?

  • There is currently no cure for shingles
  • Antiviral therapy may help reduce the severity and duration of shingles if started within 72 hours of shingles onset, which is most commonly diagnosed by the presence of the rash.
  • Shingles pain can be difficult to treat and your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications.

Shingles interview with Dr. Chu

Watch a TV interview with Dr Sarah Chu who speaks about the risk and pain of shingles

For more information about shingles please talk to your doctor.




For further information about shingles and its complications such as PHN download the following resources:

Shingles poster
Detailed patient survey findings
Shingles information leaflet


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