Generally, shingles heals well and problems are few. However, on occasion, the blisters can become infected with bacteria, causing cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin. If this occurs, the area will become reddened, warm, firm, and tender. You might notice red streaks forming around the wound. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your health-care professional. Antibiotics can be used to treat these complications.
A more worrisome complication occurs when shingles affects the face, specifically the forehead and nose. In this situation, it is possible, although not likely, that shingles can affect the eye (known as herpes zoster ophthalmicus), leading to loss of vision. If you have shingles on your forehead or nose, your eyes should be evaluated by a health-care professional.
A rare complication of shingles is known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. In this case, the cranial nerves (cranial nerves V, IX, and X) are involved. Symptoms may include peripheral facial nerve weakness and deafness. The typical rash is often observed around the ear and ear canal.
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