Cause: Although caused by varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox in children, shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, blistering skin condition most common in older adults. Shingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus becomes active again, years later, in those who have already had chicken pox. The reason why this happens is unclear.
Where: The rash associated with shingles is most often found on the chest, back and waist, appearing as a band that stretches from the spine, around one side of the body, and to the front of the abdomen. But the rash can also occur on the neck, as shown here, face, eyes, mouth and ears. The rash starts as blisters that break open and dry out.
Learn more about shingles.