Can You Get Shingles in the Mouth Area?

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Shingles, caused by a recurrence of infection with the varicella-zoster virus, called VZV, most commonly affects the torso. However, a shingles outbreak can include symptoms on the face and head, including the mouth, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Location

The location of symptoms of a shingles outbreak on the body depends on the location of the nerve affected by the virus. In the case of the involvement of facial nerves, symptoms can develop around and in the mouth.

Features

Oral shingles, like other forms of the illness, occur on only one side of the body and cause blisters that ulcerate, according to the Leeds Dental Institute.

Considerations

Topical medications used in the treatment of shingles might not be appropriate for treating shingles sores around the mouth, especially if they are in the mouth. Patients should work with their doctors to manage the pain of oral shingles.

Warning

Active shingles sores--those which have not yet broken and crusted over--are infectious, meaning that it is possible they can spread VZV to people who haven't had chickenpox, according to the Leeds Dental Institute.

Treatment

People who suspect they are developing a shingles outbreak should seek medical treatment as soon as possible, as the antiviral drugs used to treat the condition are most effective when started early, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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