Can Shingles Cause Injury and/or Death?
Yes. The most common condition caused by shingles is post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) that involves a longer period of nerve inflammation. PHN symptoms include severe pain where the shingles rash appeared after the rash clears up. PHN can be debilitating and usually lasts only a few weeks. However, in rare cases, the chronic nerve inflammation and pain has persisted for years. The elderly are at a higher risk for PHN, with the pain being more severe.1
Shingles can also affect the eye and cause loss of vision or blindness and can lead to hearing and balance problems, facial paralysis, pneumonia, brain inflammation (encephalitis) and death.2
IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Shingles and the Shingles vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.
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1 CDC Shingles (Herpes Zoster) – Shingles Home – For Health Care Professionals – Complications. Revised Feb. 21, 2018
2 CDC Shingles (Herpes Zoster) – Shingles Home – About Shingles – Complications. Revised Jan. 19, 2018