Diagnosis of Shingles
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Generally, shingles is easily diagnosed by its characteristic discomfort/pain and its distinctive rash. To confirm that you have shingles, your doctor may scrape some skin from a blister or collect some of its fluid. These samples can then be sent to a laboratory for testing. The tests can detect the presence of the varicella-zoster virus.
These tests include:
- Microscopic examination
- Viral culture
- Polymerase chain reaction techniques
It may take as long as three weeks or several weeks to obtain the results of some of these tests.
The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/default.htm . Accessed February 21, 2006.
Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician . 2000;61(8). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000415/2437.html.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/ . Accessed February 21, 2006.
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>Ross Zeltser, MD, FAAD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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