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Had history of shingles, mononucleosis, Bell's Palsy. Having pain behind ear, neck and chin,headache and numbness in face. What is it ?

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My husband (45 of Italian descent) has had shingles, mononucleosis, and Bell's Palsy in the past ten years. He is a second shift worker who is physically fit, not overweight, and a healthful eater. He has been suffering for over four weeks with pain behind his ear, down his neck, now below his chin, headaches, fatigue, some numbness in his face and tongue, facial pain, a general feeling of being unwell (especially in spurts), and recently, diarrhea. He has also complained of a feeling of being sunburned around his torso on several occasions, but not on a consistent basis. He is not sunburned. He said that it comes in waves, and usually by the time he goes to bed at 4:00 a.m., he feels horrible and cannot get to sleep. He visited a family physician two weeks ago, and the doctor took three vials of blood for tests, but we have not received any results as of yet. When he was recovering from Bell's Palsy (mild case) a few years ago, the same doctor he is seeing now analyzed his blood to determine if his immune system was suffering, and it appeared to be strong. We read about XXXXXXX Hunt syndrome this week and his symptoms seemed in-line with this. He is feeling absolutely horrible at work again tonight, and I am worried that something more serious is wrong. If you have any advice regarding whether this is something that should be addressed with another doctor right away, I would appreciate your comments. It is extremely hard to convince him to see a doctor -- especially for a second opinion. Please disregard the medical history section written earlier. I began typing the question in this area. My husband has no known allergies or history of disease. His father had a stroke and died years later from complications, and mother is still living and well.
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 3 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Shingles, XXXXXXX Hunt Syndrome, Infectious Mononucleosis and many cases of Bell's Palsy are caused by different sub-types of the same family of Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) which share a common DNA.

2. Shingles and XXXXXXX Hunt Syndrome result from reactivated Chickenpox virus which lies dormant within the body since childhood. Has he had a severe attack of Chickenpox in childhood? Is any other condition such as diabetes, concurrent infections (such as diarhhea) or stress reducing his immunity?

3. Infectious Mononucleosis is caused by the Ebstein Barr Virus (EBV), which is another type of HPV.

4. Please discuss with your physicians about the need to check his HPV antibody levels and HPV typing. Antivirals and HPV Vaccination may help here. Hopefully, any immune deficiency state will be ruled out with the blood tests. The HPV family of viruses contains hundreds of types which are present all over the world. Most spread by respiratory and close contact and are difficult to avoid.

5. He is also suffering from Post-Herpetic Pain Syndrome. Bring this to the attention of your physicians as there are many treatment options in this condition.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had history of shingles, mononucleosis, Bell's Palsy. Having pain behind ear, neck and chin,headache and numbness in face. What is it ? 19 hours later
Thank you very much.
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 17 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

You may follow up with his reports.

Wishing him good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had history of shingles, mononucleosis, Bell's Palsy. Having pain behind ear, neck and chin,headache and numbness in face. What is it ? 7 hours later
Thank you, Dr. Bhatti. In response to your original reply and question above, as a child he did have, according to his mother who is a nurse, "the worst case of chicken pox" she had ever seen. He has been under a lot of stress the last ten years, and working second shift (until 2:30 a.m.) cannot help matters. Thank you, again.
Best Regards -- XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 18 hours later

Thank you for following up.

So the viruses have been dormant for many years, surfacing during times of weakened immunity. Reducing his stress will help prevent relapse.

Kindly inform about any progress, if possible.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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