Shingles is a viral infection that typically causes a painful rash on one side of the body. If left untreated, shingles can lead to various complications, including:
- Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN): This is the most common complication of shingles, and it occurs when the nerves continue to send pain signals even after the rash has healed. PHN can be severe and can last for months or even years.
- Vision problems: If shingles occurs near the eyes, it can cause inflammation and swelling that can lead to vision problems or even permanent vision loss.
- Skin infections: If the blisters caused by shingles are not properly treated, they can become infected, leading to further complications.
- Neurological problems: Shingles can also cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or spinal cord (myelitis), which can lead to a variety of neurological symptoms, such as confusion, seizures, and muscle weakness.
- Other complications: Shingles can also lead to hearing problems, pneumonia, or even death in rare cases, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
Therefore, if you suspect you have shingles, it is important to seek medical treatment promptly to help prevent these potential complications.