The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
When You Visit Your Doctor
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Shingles

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have a history of chicken pox?
  • Does your skin hurt, itch, or feel numb?
  • Is the pain sharp, dull, or piercing? How long have you had it?
  • Do you have a rash? If so, for how long?
  • Is the rash in more than one place on your skin?
  • Is the rash on one side of your body only?
  • Has the rash at any time looked like small blisters?
  • Do you still have pain even if the rash is gone?
  • What triggers the pain (for example, a light touch)?
  • Do your symptoms interfere with your ability to sleep or perform activities of daily living?
  • Do you have any risk factors for infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (see p. 872)?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Careful skin exam

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Skin scraping to examine under the microscope, or for viral culture, immunofluorescence, or polymerase chain reaction testing


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