How Dangerous Are Shingles in the Elderly?

Skin disease, known as shingles, is brought on by a widespread virus. Typical symptoms of shingles include a band of blisters or a rash, as well as a burning pain or tingling sensation that can last for a few weeks or longer.

Shingles can occur to anyone, however, it poses some additional risks for older adults, such as an increased risk of stroke and other serious health issues.

Fortunately, shingles is curable with medication and can usually be avoided with a vaccine. A prompt reaction to the first hint of symptoms is essential for older persons who develop shingles. This entails a medical examination, prompt antiviral medication administration, and pain management therapy.

About 1 in 3 people will get shingles at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), [1] with the risk of complications considerably increasing after age 60.

The older you are, the higher the risk of shingles is. It is best to consult a medical expert about obtaining the shingles vaccine if you are over 50.


Herpes zoster is the clinical term for shingles. It is brought on by the same virus that causes chickenpox, [2] also known as varicella-zoster. The chickenpox virus has remained dormant in certain nerve cells if you had it as a child. Shingles are the end result when it activates.

Common symptoms of shingles include:

  • Sore one area of the body experiences a burning or tingling sensation on the skin.
  • A scaly rash
  • Blisters packed with fluid
  • Skin that is easily touched
  • Headaches, nausea, [3] and fever

What helps in identifying the ailment is that a shingles rash typically takes the form of a band on one side of the body—often the torso or face. Prior to the development of any blisters or skin irritation, pain may be experienced, and it may continue even after the rash has subsided.

When compared to younger people, all of those symptoms, but especially the pain and rash, are typically substantially greater in older persons. If the illness isn’t treated right away, older folks may develop chronic pain.