Recovery Pattern and Problems With Shingles
Recovery PatternFor most people with symptoms of shingles, the following recovery pattern occurs:
- The blisters continue to form for three to five days
- The skin returns to normal after two to four weeks
- The pain subsides within one to five weeks.
Shingles Symptoms and ComplicationsThere are several complications that can develop following a shingles attack. If shingles appears on your face, it can lead to complications in your hearing and vision. For instance, if shingles affects your eye, the cornea can become infected and lead to temporary or permanent blindness (known as herpes zoster ophthalmicus).
Herpes zoster oticus, also called Ramsay Hunt syndrome or Ramsay Hunt syndrome type II, is a common complication of shingles. It is caused by the spread of the varicella-zoster virus to facial nerves. It is characterized by intense ear pain, a rash around the ear, mouth, face, neck, and scalp, and paralysis of facial nerves.
Probably the most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a condition where the pain from shingles persists for months, sometimes years, after the shingles rash has healed. Pain that occurs with the initial shingles outbreak usually responds to treatment and is limited in duration (three to five weeks). In contrast, the symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia last longer, are difficult to treat, and can be incapacitating.
In many individuals, the skin is so sensitive that clothing or even a passing breeze cannot be tolerated on the affected area. The pain is described by PHN sufferers as agonizing, excruciating, and burning. The pain can result in an inability to perform daily tasks of living. This can lead to a loss of independence and, ultimately, depression and isolation.
For unknown reasons, this debilitating pain tends to occur more frequently in older people than in younger people.
(You can read about other possible complications of shingles by visiting the eMedTV article Shingles Complications.)