Although the effects of postherpetic neuralgia on physical and emotional functioning have been examined in a number of studies, the impact of acute pain in herpes zoster ("shingles") on health-related quality of life has been neglected. We describe the characteristics of herpes zoster pain and examine its relationship to physical, role, social, and emotional functioning in 110 patients with herpes zoster. When we controlled for relevant covariates, we found that greater pain burden, as assessed by the product of pain intensity and duration, was associated with poorer physical functioning, increased emotional distress, and decreased role and social functioning. The results demonstrate that herpes zoster pain has broad effects on the daily lives of patients and on their emotional health. The increasing incidence of herpes zoster that can be anticipated as the population ages requires that clinical trials that examine interventions to prevent or treat herpes zoster pain be given a high priority.