Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

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Expected Duration

Shingles usually takes 7 to 10 days to run its course, although blisters may take several weeks to disappear completely. Within 4 weeks, the appearance of your skin most likely will return to normal. Some people are left with dark spots on the skin in the area of the original rash.

The duration of pain is highly variable. Most people's pain decreases within 2 or 3 months. About 10% of people have pain for many months and about 2% continue to have pain longer than 1 year.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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