According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shingles can affect one out of every three adults. Of those, half are over age 60. Older patients with pre-existing medical conditions are most at risk of suffering from serious life-threatening complications.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says death rarely occurs as the result of shingles.
Symptoms of shingles include pain and numbness and tingling, followed by a red, itchy rash with blisters. Other possible symptoms include fatigue, headache, achiness, fever and chills. Untreated shingles can result in complications and additional symptoms.
Without early treatment, shingles can cause complications such as prolonged pain symptoms, vision loss, encephalitis, pneumonia, bacterial skin infections, hearing loss, balance problems and paralysis of the face. Of these complications, encephalitis and pneumonia are the most dangerous and carry a risk of death.
A vaccination is available to prevent shingles. Treatment for shingles includes taking antiviral medications and pain medications. Early treatment can significantly reduce the risk of serious life-threatening complications.