Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Shingles — infographic

3-minute read

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful blistering rash. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. You can only get shingles if you have had chickenpox in the past.

This infographic provides you with information on the symptoms, treatments and vaccination.
Download this infographic as a PDF

View text version of infographic

Signs and symptoms

  • tingling
  • burning pain
  • itching
  • fatigue
  • sensitivity to light
  • headache
  • red, bumpy rash
  • blistering rash

Ongoing pain after shingles that lasts for more than 3 months is called post-herpetic neuralgia.


There is no cure for shingles, but antiviral medicine can help treat the condition.

  • See your doctor for a prescription of antiviral medicines as soon as possible after symptoms develop.
  • Start the medicine within 3 days of a rash appearing.
  • If you are pregnant, check with your doctor first.

For pain relief, use paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.


Vaccination is your best protection against shingles.

The Shingrix vaccine is free for:

  • people aged 65 years or older
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older
  • immunocompromised people aged 18 years or older with certain medical conditions

For everyone else, there is a cost for this vaccine.

Not sure what to do next?

Use healthdirect's Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2023

Back To Top

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.