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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Oct 05, 2023

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Ramsay Hunt syndrome, also known as herpes zoster oticus, can occur when shingles invade the facial nerve near one of your ears. Along with the painful shingles outbreak, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is brought on by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even after the chickenpox has recovered, the virus is still present in your nerves. In a few years, it might start up again. When it does, your face's nerves can be affected.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome should be treated as quickly as possible to reduce the possibility of complications, which can include deafness and a persistent weakening of the facial muscles.

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Causes Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

People with chickenpox develop Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus that causes chickenpox stays in your body even after you have recovered and it can occasionally reactivate years later to cause shingles, a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a shingles attack, damages the facial nerve near to one of your ears. It may also result in hearing loss and unilateral facial paralysis.

Symptoms Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Two primary symptoms and indicators define Ramsay Hunt syndrome:

  • Severe red rash around one ear with fluid-filled blisters
  • The same ear-side facial weakness or paralysis as the affected ear
  • Typically, both the rash and the facial paralysis happen at the same time. One may occasionally happen before the other. The rash may occasionally never emerge.

If you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome, you could experience:

  • Pain in the ears
  • Hearing impairment
  • Tinnitus, a ringing sensation in the ears.
  • Having trouble shutting one eye
  • A whirling or moving sensation
  • A change in one's sense of flavour or a loss of flavour
  • Mouth and eyes are dry.

Risk Factors Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Anyone who has had chickenpox may get Ramsay Hunt syndrome. It often affects those over 60 and is more prevalent in elderly people. Ramsay Hunt syndrome rarely affects children.

It is impossible to spread Ramsay Hunt syndrome. But among people who have never had chickenpox or had the varicella-zoster vaccine, the virus can reactivate and cause the disease. For those with problems with their immune systems, the infection may be potentially harmful.

Until the rash blisters scab over avoid personal touch with:

  • Anyone who has never had chickenpox or taken the vaccine
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  • Newborns
  • Women who are pregnant

Diagnosis Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is frequently diagnosed by a doctor based on a patient's medical history, a physical examination, and the syndrome's characteristic signs and symptoms. Your doctor could extract a sample of fluid from one of the rash blisters in your ear for testing in order to confirm the diagnosis.

Also read :

Proctitis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and ComplicationsXerostomia (Dry Mouth): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications
Orchitis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and ComplicationsThe Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome
Foot Drop: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt syndrome can be treated early to reduce pain and the chance of long-term consequences. Medications might consist of:

  • Antiviral Medicines: The chickenpox virus is frequently treated with drugs like acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex).
  • Corticosteroids: In Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a brief course of high-dose prednisone seems to enhance the effects of antiviral medications.
  • Medicine to treat anxiety: Medications like diazepam (Valium) can aid with vertigo relief.
  • Drugs that Reduce Pain: Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause severe pain. Painkillers on prescription could be required.

Prevention Of Ramsay Hunt syndrome

As a result of routine vaccination against chickenpox, now less number of children are affected with this disease. For people 50 years of age and older, the shingles vaccine is also advised.

Complications Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt syndrome complications could consist of:

  • Permanent Facial Paralysis and Loss of Hearing: The facial paralysis and hearing loss linked to Ramsay Hunt syndrome are typically transient. 
  • Damage to the eyes: Ramsay Hunt syndrome causes facial paralysis, which could make it difficult for you to close your eyelid. The cornea, which protects your eye, may be harmed when this happens. This damage may cause pain in the eyes and vision blurring.
  • Post-Herpetic Neuralgia: An infection from shingles affects the nerve fibres, resulting in this painful illness. Ramsay Hunt syndrome causes pain that may linger long after other symptoms have subsided because the messages sent by these nerve fibres become jumbled and amplified.

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