Initial flu-like symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases. As soon as the rash develops, however, shingles is relatively easy to diagnose, as the rash is fairly unique. In turn, your doctor may be able to tell you what it is—and have you start treatment immediately—simply by looking at the rash. To be sure, or if your doctor has doubts, he or she can take a small sample of the rash and send it to a lab to look for the varicella-zoster virus.
Last Revised: November 11, 2008
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