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Common Shingles Rash Sites

author image Sarah Harding
Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.
Common Shingles Rash Sites
Close-up of man scratching skin. Photo Credit: AGLPhotoproductions/iStock/Getty Images

After contracting the virus that causes chicken pox, an individual can later develop herpes zoster, also known as shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology explains that after chicken pox, the virus remains inactive in the body. Later, it can reactivate, for no known reason, and cause new symptoms. Pain is a common symptom of shingles. A rash is still common with shingles, but it is not as itchy as chicken pox. The zoster rash tends to form on one side of the body.

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At the onset of shingles the skin may burn, itch, tingle or become extremely sensitive, states the AAD. Between one and three days later a red rash will develop in this same area. The trunk is a common location of the rash. An individual may notice skin discoloration on the chest, side and/or back. The National Institutes of Health describes the trunk rash as occurring in a narrow section of skin from the spine around to the front of the abdomen.


The rash will soon turn into clusters of blisters that last for two to three weeks. The blisters appear clear and fluid-filled. Another common location of the shingles rash is the buttocks. Merck Manuals points out that it is not uncommon for the rash to only develop unilaterally--this means the rash can appear on one buttock but not the other. This applies to any site where the rash appears.

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Other sites can develop the zoster rash, including the arms, face and legs. The AAD states the rash can occur anywhere that nerves have been impacted by the virus. A blister on the tip of the nose may be an indication of eye nerve involvement and should be treated with medical attention to ensure long-lasting damage does not occur. Several days after the blisters appear they will appear yellow or bloody before scabbing over to heal. These blisters are extremely painful in most cases.

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