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Facial shingles


Facial shingles is a form of shingles affecting the face. Shingles is a disease caused by the reawakening of the virus that causes chickenpox, VZV. Once contracted, the varicella virus remains dormant in the nerve ganglia for life. Reactivation can occur mainly in the elderly or by a decrease in the body's defenses and thus causes shingles. It is an infection that occurs in the skin in the form of grouped red skin lesions. The vesicles become scabs in a few days before falling off. A burning pain is present. The location of the vesicles is associated with a sensitive area of a nerve and some attacks are more frequent, such as intercostal shingles at the chest, ophthalmic zoster in the face, or shingles that affect another area of the face, sometimes called otic zoster.


In both types of shingles of the face, common symptoms include:
  • the appearance of vesicles, skin lesions containing liquid on a background of red skin, which then evolve into scabs and fall off after a few days;
  • pain on one side of the face, burning or electric in nature.

In the case of ophthalmic zoster, symptoms include:
  • skin lesions, with pain localized to the forehead, around the eyes and bridge of the nose;
  • possible ocular complications.

As for Otic zona:
  • skin lesions in the ear and the external auditory meatus;
  • Pain in the ear;
  • a loss of sensitivity of the tongue;
  • sometimes, balance or hearing disorders;
  • paralysis of the face.


Depending on the symptoms described by the patient and the clinical signs, the diagnosis is relatively easily made and no further review is necessary.


In the case of a face zoster, the patient is prescribed rest. Skin lesions should be washed with warm water, and possibly with a skin antiseptic. In facial forms of the disease, antiviral treatment with valaciclovir is frequently associated. Analgesics are given for pain. For ophthalmic shingles, the use of an ointment can prevent eye complications.


There is a vaccine to prevent infection by VZV, but immunity is not guaranteed. In the ophthalmic area, ointments can prevent eye complications.

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