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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Herpes zoster oticus

Other Names for this Disease
  • Hunt syndrome (formerly)
  • Hunt's syndrome (formerly)
  • Ramsay Hunt syndrome type 2 (formerly)
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Your Question

Are there certain foods that could make the symptoms of herpes zoster oticus better or worse? Is there a good website to obtain more information on this condition?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is herpes zoster oticus?

Herpes zoster oticus is a common complication of shingles, an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus (which is the virus that also causes chickenpox). Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox and the varicella-zoster virus becomes active again. Herpes zoster oticus is caused by the spread of the virus to facial nerves and can cause intense ear pain; a rash around the ear, mouth, face, neck, and scalp; and paralysis of the face. Other symptoms may include hearing loss, vertigo (feeling that the room is spinning), tinnitus (hearing abnormal sounds), loss of taste in the tongue, and dry mouth and eyes. Some cases of herpes zoster oticus do not require treatment, but when treatment is needed, pain medications, antiviral drugs or corticosteroids may be prescribed. Vertigo is sometimes treated with medication as well. The prognosis of herpes zoster oticus is typically good but in some cases, hearing loss or facial paralysis may be permanent.[1]
Last updated: 12/3/2010

How might herpes zoster oticus be treated?

Treatment for herpes zoster oticus typically includes anti-inflammatory drugs called steroids, which may reduce the inflammation of the nerves and help to ease the pain. Antiviral medications are usually prescribed, although whether antiviral medications are beneficial for treating this condition has not been confirmed. Strong pain medications may be prescribed if the pain continues. An eye patch may be recommended to prevent injury to the cornea (corneal abrasion) and damage to the eye if it does not close completely. Vertigo (feeling that the room is spinning) and dizziness may be treated with other medications.[2]
Last updated: 12/3/2010

Are there certain foods that could make the symptoms of herpes zoster oticus better or worse?

We were unable to locate any information about the affects of diet on the symptoms of herpes zoster oticus.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. While no studies specifically involving dietary treatment for herpes zoster oticus are listed at this time, there are a number of studies involving other treatments for shingles that are enrolling patients. To find these trials, click on the link above and use "shingles AND treatment" as your search term.
Last updated: 12/3/2010

How can I learn more about herpes zoster oticus?

The Genetic and Rare Disease (GARD) Information Center's Web site provides links to several resources about herpes zoster oticus. To view a list of these resources, click here.
Last updated: 12/3/2010