What does shingles feel like at the start? This can be a scary question to many first time sufferers of the condition. Shingles occurs when the virus called Varicella zoster virus, or VZV, attacks the skin. It’s this particular VZV that causes the painful blisters and itchy rash that we’ve all seen in pictures and on advertisements. The sensation of the virus coming to life is very exciting, especially since it is a virus that cannot be treated with any type of medication. That’s where the prevention and treatments have come in or should – if you catch the symptoms early enough.