What Are the Dangers of Shingles on the Face?


Shigles, a condition caused by a flare-up of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) (which also causes chicken pox), occurs mostly on the mid-section of the body. However, it can also affect a nerve on the face, which can sometimes lead to lasting complications.


  • Depending on which part of the face is impacted by VZV, the eyes, ears and muscles of the face may be impacted. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people may even develop encephalitis, which is swelling in the brain.


  • Facial shingles can lead to problems with hearing, balance, vision, and weakness or loss of movement in facial muscles.


  • Ramsay Hunt is a related facial infection with VZV. It can lead to shingles-like rash, pain in one ear, trouble with closing one eye, hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ear), vertigo and changes in taste, according to the Mayo Clinic.


  • People who develop pain and red rash with blisters on one side of the face should seeks prompt medical attention. Proper treatment with antiviral drugs and corticosteroids can reduce symptoms and complications.


  • For facial involvement of shingles, patients may be referred to specialists, such as ophthalmologists (eye doctors) who can better treat the complications of facial shingles.

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