Shingles usually starts with intense burning pain in the affected area before the appearance of a rash. Oftentimes this pain is misinterpreted as another disease, such as a heart attack, gallbladder disease or appendicitis. After the initial pain, small reddish bumps appear on the skin. These bumps turn into small itchy blisters, which can last up to five days or more. Within the next 10 days, the blisters dry up and turn into scabs. Some patients will have pain after the rash disappears, which is particularly common in older adults.
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