The rash can become infected by bacteria.
An attack of shingles near the eyes, or at the top of the nose can be associated with scarring on the cornea, affecting vision.
Shingles on the face can, in rare cases, lead to a temporary hearing loss, facial paralysis and a reduced sense of taste.
Shingles is rarely serious. In about 90 per cent of patients, the attack normally subsides within a week after the appearance of the first symptoms if it gets treated immediately. Otherwise they may suffer for months. Most people only have one or two attacks.
Elderly people in particular may continue to feel intense pain, even after the attack seems to have subsided. These could go on for months of pain and may cause depression.