Facial nerve
Facial Nerve Open the popup dialog
Ramsay Hunt syndrome (herpes zoster oticus) occurs when an outbreak of shingles affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After the chickenpox goes away, the virus still lives on your nerves. Years later, it can be reactivated. If so, it can affect your facial nerves.

Immediate treatment for Ramsay Hunt syndrome can reduce the risk of complications, which can include permanent facial muscle weakness and numbness.

Facial paralysis
Facial Paralysis Open the popup dialog
The two main signs and symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome are:

A painful red rash with fluid-filled blisters on, in and around one ear
Facial weakness or paralysis on the same side as the affected ear
Usually, the rash and facial paralysis appear at the same time. Sometimes one thing can happen before the other. In other cases, the rash never occurs.

The reasons
Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs in people with chickenpox. Once you’ve recovered from chickenpox, the virus stays in your body – sometimes it reactivates over the following years, causing shingles, a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is an outbreak of shingles that affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. It can also cause unilateral facial paralysis and hearing loss.

Risk factors
Ramsay Hunt syndrome can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox. It is more common in the elderly and usually affects people over the age of 60. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is rare in children.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is not contagious. However, reactivation of the varicella zoster virus can cause chickenpox in people who have never had chickenpox or who have not been vaccinated against it. The infection can be serious to people with immune system problems.

Avoid physical contact with:

Anyone who has never had chickenpox or who has never been vaccinated against chickenpox
Anyone with a weak immune system
Pregnant woman

Children are now routinely vaccinated against chickenpox, which greatly reduces the risk of contracting the chickenpox virus. A shingles vaccine for people aged 50 and over is also recommended.

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