|Shingles, also referred to by the medical term herpes zoster, is a reactivation of a previous viral infection that causes a painful, blistering rash in the specific area served by the nerve root involved. It is caused by the chickenpox (varicella zoster) virus and typically only affects a specific area of the skin.
Shingles can be extremely uncomfortable, and can cause you to feel surprisingly ill. However, it is usually not a serious condition and, if treated early, the risk of developing other complications can be reduced. More severe episodes of shingles can lead to a condition known as postherpectic neuralgia. Shingles typically affects older people or those with weak immune systems.