Diagnosis of Shingles

Shingles is diagnosed by its pain and its specific rash. To confirm that you have shingles, your doctor may scrape some skin from a blister or collect some of its fluid for testing. The tests can detect the presence of the varicella-zoster virus.

These tests include:

  • Microscopic examination
  • Viral culture
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Polymerase chain reaction techniques

It may take three to several weeks to obtain the results of some of these tests.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: David Horn, MD
  • Review Date: 05/2014 -
  • Update Date: 05/17/2014 -
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  • Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/shingles. Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html. Updated January 10, 2011. Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, et al. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(8). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0415/p2437.html. Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Zoster. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 20, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.