Do I Have a Shingles Rash or Psoriasis?

shingles rash

What is the difference between having a shingles rash or having symptoms of psoriasis? People with skin rashes that have no idea what it might be are typically the ones that ask questions like this one. I used to be one of them, so I can relate to the, what is this on my skin and how do I get rid of it dilemma? There are many conditions and diseases that can affect the skin, including autoimmune diseases like Lupus (Lupus Symptoms), Herpes, or Psoriasis. Symptoms of Lupus, for example, might be triggered by overexposure to sunlight. If you’re one too then keep reading.

My Experience and Insights with a Shingles Rash

I have plenty of experience with both shingles and psoriasis, as I have had shingles for over 30 years and as a hairstylist have several clients who have psoriasis on the scalp (common scalp skin conditions), skin and under the nails. The difference in shingles and psoriasis, first of all, is that shingles, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, can be contagious while psoriasis is not; however, shingles is only contagious when shingles blisters are active and it is ONLY contagious to a person who has never had the chickenpox virus

Having an Active Shingles Rash and Blisters

Let me explain active shingles blisters for those who haven’t a clue. When shingles blisters first erupt they are filled with fluid and itch like crazy it is at this stage that they are active. After a few days the blisters either burst or dry up and become scabs and at this point they are no longer active or contagious. The bad news is that, many times, they leave scars.

Another difference between a shingles rash and symptoms of psoriasis is that they do not look the same. Shingles blisters are sometimes known as cold sores or fever blisters on the mouth and they are true blue blisters. Psoriasis lesions are not blisters nor do they resemble blisters. Psoriasis lesions or scales are dry and silvery white in color while the skin patches are a reddish tint.

symptoms of psoriasis
Patient with Psoriasis

One more difference between shingles and psoriasis is that shingles doesn’t spread to nails, but psoriasis does. Nail psoriasis can destroy the nail, similar to nail fungus. To add to this, many times, you can’t tell if its nail psoriasis or nail fungus. In this case it is wise to seek a medical opinion, since treatment for both differ.

The last difference between shingles and psoriasis is that shingles is a virus and psoriasis is not. Shingles is known as the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and is in the chicken pox and herpes family.

For those who want to know the similarities in shingles and psoriasis there are several. Both shingles and psoriasis are incurable; however, they can be successfully managed, so that severity is reduced. They also itch, burn, spread and are painful and can appear most anywhere on the body and can be triggered by a weak immune system, stress, poor diet and genetics.

Finally, If you have a skin rash and have no idea what it is and if you suspect that it could be either shingles or psoriasis you should seek medical attention to find out for sure. You must know what you’re dealing with to properly treat it and reduce severity as well as skin damage.