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27th Apr 2023

HSE issues shingles warning – here are the symptoms to look out for

Kat O'Connor

The HSE has issued a warning to the public about the contagious virus shingles.

The infection can last up to four weeks but your skin can remain sore for weeks after.

According to the HSE, the first sign of shingles is a tingling or painful feeling in an area of your skin.

You will then experience a headache or will generally feel unwell.

The rash will appear a few days after these symptoms.


The shingles rash often appears on your stomach and chest, but it can also appear on your eyes, face, and genitals.

If you suspect you have shingles then contact your GP immediately.

How to treat shingles

Doctors recommend taking paracetamol to ease the pain. Those infected should wear loose-fitting clothing and keep the rash clean to reduce infection risks.

You can also use a cool compress to ease the pain.

Doctors advised against using antibiotics as this can slow healing.

How is it spread?

Shingles can only spread while the rash oozes fluid, the HSE confirmed.

However, those infected should stay away from pregnant women who have never had chickenpox before.

You should also avoid contact with people undergoing cancer treatment, people with weakened immune systems, and babies under a month old.

Those infected should stay away from school or the workplace until the rash has stopped weeping or until it dries out.

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