What are the dangers of shingles on the face?


Quick Answer

Shingles on the face can endanger vision, and such conditions as Guillain-Barre syndrome, Ramsay Hunt syndrome and Bell's palsy can strike. Shingles only appears in about one of every five people who had chickenpox, and not all cases of shingles involve the face, notes The New York Times.

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Full Answer

When a shingles rash appears on the face, the eyes can be in danger, especially if the infection's path trails along the side of the nose. If the shingles involve the eye, a severe infection can set in, threatening vision. Shingles can also spur a retinal infection known as imminent acute retinal necrosis syndrome, and while shingles on the face can lead to this infection, it can set in even if the shingles rash does not appear on the face, according to The New York Times.

Guillain-Barre syndrome results from inflammation in the nerves and has a connection with shingles and other viruses. Symptoms ranging from weakness to paralysis can strike the face, trunk, arms and legs, and hospitalization is required in some cases. Ramsay Hunt syndrome leads to a rash on the ear and possibly in the mouth, also paralyzing the face. The brain can develop mild inflammation as well. Bell's palsy involves partial paralysis of the face, and it can signal a return of the herpes zoster virus associated with shingles even if no visible rash appears, as stated by The New York Times.

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