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Raised Rash: Hives or Shingles?

A Spider Bite in Peru Leads to a Mysterious Rash

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Updated February 01, 2010

Raised Rash: Hives or Shingles?
Photo (c) Jose Luis Balarezo Gardiol

Now that we've seen Jose's original bite and the ensuing rash, here is a picture from the side showing how the rash is raised away from the skin. Hives are usually raised just like this, and the fact that Jose's muscle pain is reduced when he takes antihistamines might support the idea that these are hives.

However the pattern of the rash and the muscle pain are also similar to the way a shingles rash would look and feel. Shingles -- also known as herpes zoster -- comes from the Varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.

Did Jose get shingles from a spider bite? No. So, how do we explain the spider if the rash is from shingles?

We don't explain it. Jose didn't get a doctor's diagnosis so all we can do is speculate, but his case is a good example of how spiders often get blamed for rashes and symptoms they may not have caused.

Have a spider bite you want to share? Submit a picture of your spider bite.

Want to talk about spider bites? Ask others and see more bites on the First Aid Forum.

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