How Long Does Shingles Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 3 – 5 Weeks

Shingles is a disease that causes painful skin rash affecting the nerves. It is a viral infection that can cause burning, shooting pain, rashes, tingling, itching as well as blisters. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus that is also responsible for causing chickenpox. Thus, if one ever had chickenpox, the same virus can reactivate as shingles.

Approximately, about one in three adults get shingles. It can last for weeks, following a consistent pattern of both pain and healing. The rashes or blisters due to shingles appear as bands in one area of the body.

There is no cure for shingles, but various treatments exist which help manage its symptoms. Vaccines are available that can help prevent shingles from occurring and also to tackle the long-lasting nerve pain that sometimes develops due to it.

How Long Does Shingles Last

How Long Does Shingles Last?

More than one million cases of shingles are diagnosed every year. The risk of shingles increases as the person becomes older. As the risk potentially increases with age, it is most commonly observed to occur after the age of 60.

Shingles develop in about 10% of people who already had chickenpox at an earlier stage of their lives as both are caused due to the same virus.

For the rashes or blisters caused by shingles to totally disappear from the time the symptoms of it are first observed, it can take anywhere from three to five weeks.

A rash appears on skin that causes pain, itching or burning 1 – 2 days
The raised rash starts appearing as a band or patch2 – 3 days
Rash develops into a red, fluid-filled, round painful blister3 – 4 days
Blisters begin to crust over and dry outAbout 10 days
Blister scabs clearing up2 – 3 weeks

As the virus travels in specific nerves, shingles are found occurring in a band or patch on one side of the body. This band corresponds to the area where the affected nerve transmits signals. The most common areas where shingles can occur are the torso, waist, and face. The rashes caused due to shingles stay localized to a specific area and don’t spread over the entire body.

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Why Does Shingles Last So Long?

Shingles can be a very painful situation. Once the symptoms of shingles are observed, a doctor must be seen immediately to ensure that there is minimal discomfort.

The early symptoms of shingles include irritation, itching, numbness, tingling, and general discomfort. Within the next few days, a red rash forms around the sensitive area. Further, fluid-filled blisters develop at the site of the rash.

The blisters ooze before drying up, within 10 days of appearing. At this point, scabs form on the skin, tending to heal within 2 – 4 weeks.

Other symptoms accompanying skin sensitivity, rashes and blisters include chills, fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, and sensitivity to light. Shingles are not contagious but are the reactivation of a virus already present inside the body.

Most people recover from shingles, but for those over 60 years who are not treated properly, the pain doesn’t go away and can last for months, years, or even the rest of their lives.


These people develop what is known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) which is the result of the shingles virus damaging the nerves of the skin. In some cases, the pain is mild. However, in others, even the slightest touch can cause excruciating pain.

Thus, the bottom line would be to seek prompt medical attention if one suspects any early signs of shingles.


Shingles is a common viral infection of the nerves. It causes a painful rash or small blisters on an area of the skin

Shingles affect approximately one-third of the total population. Symptoms may vary drastically in severity and duration. Early intervention is key in reducing symptom severity and thus, a doctor must be consulted as soon as early signs of shingles begin to appear to avoid any further complications.

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Seek a doctor as soon as possible if there is heightened skin sensitivity or painful rashes or blisters. One should consider having the dose of the shingles vaccination to reduce the risk of shingles and long-term nerve pain.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I appreciate the article’s emphasis on seeking immediate medical attention at the early signs of shingles to prevent complications.

  2. The information provided is accurate and relevant, and reasons for the lengthy duration of shingles are explained very well.

  3. The article contains the crucial information necessary for understanding shingles, ensuring early intervention, and seeking medical advice.

  4. The article provides valuable insights into the duration, symptoms, and risks of shingles, along with the importance of seeking timely medical advice.

    1. Indeed, it provides comprehensive information about shingles, the risk factors, and prospective medical interventions.

  5. The article provides an in-depth explanation of the duration and symptoms of shingles, and emphasizes the importance of seeking prompt medical attention if one suspects shingles.

    1. Yes. Early intervention is crucial to reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms. The postherpetic neuralgia can have a prolonged and severe impact.

  6. The article effectively highlights the significance of early intervention to reduce the severity of shingles, a viral infection affecting the nerves.

    1. Indeed, the importance of early medical attention cannot be overstated when dealing with shingles to prevent extended pain.

    2. A well-documented and comprehensive overview of shingles, emphasizing the importance of early intervention.

  7. The detailed duration and symptoms of shingles are explained effectively, providing valuable insight into this viral infection.

  8. The detailed explanation and focus on the importance of seeking medical attention in the early stages of shingles are very valuable.

  9. The article highlights the importance of vaccinations and the risk of shingles in the elderly very effectively.

    1. It’s a very comprehensive and insightful article that provides crucial information about the risks and symptoms of shingles.

  10. The article is very informative and serves as a valuable resource for understanding, preventing, and managing shingles.

    1. Although the content is informative, it’s quite alarming to understand the potential risks and complications related to shingles.

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