Shingles vs Herpes

Shingles vs Herpes

Herpes and Shingles viruses are some of the most common skin infections in the world. Both are caused by the same virus, so it can be confusing to know the difference between the two. Let’s take a closer look at Herpes and Shingles so you can determine which virus is causing your symptoms.


Herpes is an infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). It is most commonly identified by its blisters, also known as cold sores, which appear on and around the mouth, face, and genitals. Herpes is contagious and is typically spread through sexual contact.


Shingles, on the other hand, is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and is closely related to chickenpox. Unlike herpes, shingles is not spread through sexual contact. It is typically spread through contact with someone who currently has shingles or has recently had chickenpox.

Signs and Symptoms

Herpes symptoms typically include painful blisters, itching, burning and tingling sensations. Shingles, on the other hand, only manifests as a painful rash. The rash appears as red patches on the skin, sometimes even with blisters. People with shingles typically experience pain, itching or burning on the affected area. If not treated, shingles can lead to other complications.


The diagnosis of herpes and shingles can be difficult because the symptoms of each can vary so much. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor if you think that you may have either virus. Your physician may take a swab or biopsy of the affected area, or request a blood test.


The treatment for herpes and shingles is similar.
Both infections can be treated with topical creams, oral medications, and other remedies.

  • Herpes: Antiviral medications, such as Acyclovir or Valacyclovir, can help reduce the symptoms of herpes.
  • Shingles: Antiviral medications, such as Acyclovir and Famciclovir, can help reduce the pain and duration of the rash.

It is important to remember that herpes and shingles are both highly contagious and spread easily. If you think you have either, it is important to see a doctor and avoid any contact with people who may be infected.

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