Shingles Vs Herpes

Not sure if it's Shingles vs Herpes? These are two different infections caused by the Herpes virus. Although most people view these viruses as the same kind of ailment, they are in fact very different to a keen eye. Therefore, it is important to learn about both viruses in order to have a well-informed account of their similarities and differences.


Herpes is caused by a type of virus known as the Herpes Simplex Virus. In most instances, it is referred to as a sexually transmitted infection, as it is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact. Herpes comes in two different variants, the Herpes simplex virus type one and the Herpes simplex virus type two.

According to Beyond Disease, Herpes virus one is most commonly transmitted through oral sexual contact and is quite contagious. In case a person who is infected with Herpes virus-one performs oral sex on a healthy person, they will most likely transmit the virus to that person as well.

Herpes virus-two, on the other hand, is almost exclusively transmitted through direct sexual contact. In the event that you have sex with a person who is infected with the virus, you stand a very high chance of being infected as well.

Herpes results in the formation of sores around the genitalia as well as the mouth. Although this disease can cause sores in other parts of the body, they will mostly be below the waist.

The viruses do not show immediate symptoms, but they are chronic. Once you have been infected, the virus can easily be activated again if you came into contact with their triggers.

Symptoms of Herpes

A person suffering from Herpes will show the following symptoms:

  • Development of red, sensitive areas on the body. In most instances, these red areas will be blistered on the surface
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Fever

These symptoms disappear after a short period, about a week or so, but this does not mean the virus has been eliminated from the body.

Treatment for Herpes

The most notable medication for treating Herpes around the genitalia is antiviral drugs, for example, Valacyclovir and Acyclovir. To treat Herpes of the lips, one can use docosanol antiviral medication. There are other types of medications that have been tried and tested. These include bee-affiliated products as well as Aloe Vera products.

In order to cool down the localized pain and alleviating sensations, one can use analgesics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These medications work well in relieving pain and sensations caused by Herpes.


Shingles, also referred to as Herpes Zoster or Zona, is generally an affliction of the skin. It is caused by the Herpes Human Virus three, also referred to as the Varicella Zoster Virus. Shingles manifests itself through painful rashes, which are blistered in most instances.

According to, the Shingles virus in most cases affects older persons who have weakened immune systems. One can have a weak immune system due to:

  • Stress
  • Certain medications
  • Injuries

A person suffering from Shingles will only experience these symptoms on a particular side of the body.

When the Shingles virus first infects you, you are not likely to feel the effects immediately. The virus takes time to manifest in the body and cause the rashes. However, after some time, you will develop chickenpox, and even after you have been completely treated and recovered from the chickenpox, the Shingles virus will still remain in your nerve tissues, which are located near the brain or the spinal cord. This means that after a certain period, the virus might manifest itself again and form Shingles on your skin.

Symptoms of Shingles

A person suffering from Shingles will experience the following symptoms during the early stages of the disease.

  • Headaches
  • A feeling of malaise
  • Fever

After these symptoms have passed, the person experiences itchy sensations in different parts of their body as well as burning sensations. After a fortnight, rashes start to appear along the torso area, and in rare occurrences, the rashes can also manifest on the face and other body parts. According to Recomparison, these rashes are usually infested with blisters that contain grave experiences.

Treatment for Shingles

To minimize the itchy sensations, there are lotions containing calamine, which one can use. In addition, lidocaine and topical capsaicin can be used with great results. To relieve pain, one can use various analgesics, steroids and antiviral medications, available over the counter from recommended chemists.

Famciclovir, valacyclovir and acyclovir are known antiviral medications that help in inhibition of the replication of the Shingles virus. In case the patient is suffering from infections around their infected body parts, they can use corticosteroids to treat the infections.

Shingles vs Herpes: Similarities

Contrary to many peoples’ beliefs that these diseases are similar in many ways, there are minimal actual similarities between these ailments. These include:

  • Both ailments emanate from viruses of the Herpesviridae family
  • Both of these ailments are easily transferred from one person to another
  • Treatment drugs for both ailments include antiviral drugs, Aloe Vera lotions, analgesics and steroids
  • Both Herpes and Shingles have similar symptoms, which include local pain sensations, rashes that are blistered and headaches
  • Both viruses are reoccurring. After the symptoms disappear, they are likely to reappear and affect the patient again.

Shingles vs Herpes: Differences

Some of the most common differences between these two ailments include:

  • Although both emanate from the Herpesviradae family of viruses, the exact viruses that cause each disease are different in that Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex whereas Shingles is caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus.
  • Herpes is a sexually transmitted virus, in that it is transferred from one person to another through direct sexual contact. Shingles mostly affects people with advanced age.
  • In most cases, Shingles affect older people with weak immune systems, whereas Herpes, especially Herpes two, can affect anyone who is sexually active.
  • In Herpes, symptoms are not immediately experienced, whereas with Shingles, the symptoms are immediately notable.
  • Herpes in most cases affects the genitalia or the mouth, whereas Shingles usually affects other parts of the body, not necessarily the private parts.

If you notice the symptoms of either of these conditions, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to provide advice and treatments.