Thank you for writing.
Shingles is a part of the herpes family. It's known as the herpes zoster virus. About one million Americans (most over the age of 60 or with poor immune systems) suffer from shingles annually and it can be a very long and painful experience.
To get shingles, a person must have had chickenpox first as shingles stems from the same herpes virus.
Generally, shingles is easily diagnosed by its characteristic discomfort/pain and its distinctive rash. To confirm that you have shingles, your doctor may scrape some skin from a blister or collect some of its fluid. These samples can then be sent to a laboratory for testing. The tests can detect the presence of the varicella-zoster virus.