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What are thecomplications?

Most people do not have any long-term effects, but for some people shingles can cause complications.

The long-term nerve pain that some people experience after shingles is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). This can be a severe, unpleasant, long-term nerve pain that is often described as burning, stabbing or throbbing. This can last weeks, months or for a few people, even years.

PHN is the most common complication of shingles. An estimated 15-20% of people in their seventies who have shingles go on to develop PHN.

For some people even a slight breeze against the skin can be painful and distressing. PHN can affect quality of life and the majority of sufferers say they have less enjoyment of life and find their sleep, work and social life disrupted. The older you are, the more likely you are to have long-lasting nerve pain.

couple walking a dog

Sometimes shingles can develop in the eye and/or affect the skin of the eyelid. This can cause severe pain and lead to decreased vision or, rarely, permanent blindness in the affected eye. Studies have estimated that shingles that affects the eye occurs in 10-20% of shingles cases. If you have shingles and develop problems with your eye, you should seek advice from your doctor straight away.

Shingles can also lead to other complications like scarring, skin infections (a high temperature can be a sign of bacterial infection) or, rarely, hearing loss for those who don't make a full recovery from complications.

Visiting your GP promptly if you suspect shingles, and following medical advice, is very important to prevent or recover from shingles complications. Generally, the earlier the treatment is started, the better the outcome.

Reporting of side effects.If you get any side effects with any medicines, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the medicines package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme by searching for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of medicines.
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