Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Herpes Zoster Overview

What is herpes zoster?
A person with herpes zoster has an infection with the Herpes varicella-zoster virus, which causes a painful rash on one side of the body. Herpes zoster is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. The herpes varicella-zoster vaccine prevents herpes zoster, as well as chicken pox.

What are the symptoms of herpes zoster?
The most common symptom of herpes zoster includes a painful, blistery, red rash that is confined to one area, usually on one side of the body. Additional symptoms of herpes zoster may include headache, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. Herpes zoster usually resolves in two to three weeks.

How does the doctor treat herpes zoster?
Treatment for herpes zoster may include oral antihistamines, antiviral medications, narcotic pain medications, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Some may be treated with corticosteroids.

Continue to Herpes Zoster Risk Factors

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Herpes Zoster References
  1. Arvin AM. Antiviral therapy for varicella and herpes zoster. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 2002 Jan;13(1):12-21. [12118839]
  2. Feder HM Jr, Hoss DM. Herpes zoster in otherwise healthy children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 May;23(5):451-7; quiz 458-60. [15131470]
  3. Johnson RW. Herpes zoster in the immunocompetent patient: management of post-herpetic neuralgia. Herpes. 2003 Aug;10(2):38-45. [1457795]
  4. Liesegang TJ. Herpes zoster virus infection. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2004 Dec;15(6):531-6. [15523199]
  5. Pugh RN, Omar RI, Hossain MM. Varicella infection and pneumonia among adults. Int J Infect Dis. 1998 Apr-Jun;2(4):205-10. [9763503]
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