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learn more about shingles at NIH Senior Health


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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among those who get shingles, more than one-third will develop serious complications. Your risk of complications rises after you reach 60 years of age.

If shingles appears on your face, it can lead to problems with your hearing and vision. For instance, if shingles affects your eye, your cornea can become infected and lead to temporary or permanent blindness.

Another complication of the virus is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a condition in which the pain from shingles lasts for months, sometimes years, after the shingles rash has healed. Antiviral medicines may also help stave off the painful after effects of PHN. Other treatments for PHN include painkillers, steroids, antidepressants, and antiseizure medicine. Usually, PHN will get better over time.

Last Updated December 10, 2010