Shingles in children are very rare; this is because shingles is a manifestation of a previous virus, such as chickenpox.
Shingles in ChildrenIf the child has previously suffered from chickenpox, they can go on to develop shingles. This virus (varicella-zoster virus) can stay dormant in the nerves of the spine. This virus will not necessarily infect your child even if they have had chickenpox previously. This virus will only reactivate in specific circumstances, such as being unwell or having a raised temperature.
The symptoms of childhood shingles are the same as if an adult was suffering from the virus. These symptoms can be;
- The temperature of 38C or higher,
- Pains in the muscles,
- Possible pins and needles sensation in the areas affected,
- Feeling generally unwell.
Few Precautionary Measures
If your child is suffering from the shingles virus, you can take precautionary measures to prevent the passing of chickenpox to those who have not previously it. These precautionary measures are only basic but they have the potential to succeed in isolating the outbreak.
- Avoid social interaction,
- Do not share any kind of washcloth or towel,
- Avoid swimming especially in a public pool,
- Avoid sports where physical contact is necessary.
If a child who has shingles shares a bed with a child who has never had chickenpox, it is likely that the child will develop chickenpox. It is advised that you keep interaction at a minimum.
The spots of shingles are like blisters when they are moist your shingles virus is highly contagious although direct physical contact would be necessary. When the blisters are dry and scabby they are no longer contagious and it is safe for social interaction and physical contact is alright.
It is common to feel a slight pain in some areas of the body; this will usually happen up to 5 days prior to breaking out in spots and is very common for shingles in children. If you already have the shingles spots or blister in one area getting pain in another area pinpoints the next affected area where spots will appear.
As with chickenpox shingles are also itchy so a simple application of a lotion such as calamine lotion may reduce the need to itch. Continuous itching of these blisters may result in an infection. If this happens to seek advice from your doctor as you may need a prescribed cream.
Shingles in children are usually relatively mild compared to shingles in an adult. If your child does have shingles they should start to recover as soon as the blisters are no longer moist. Pain can continue to occur for weeks or even months after the shingles virus has gone.
If you are worried about the persistent pain that shingles in children can cause then you should seek advice from your doctor, even though this is known to be harmless, your doctor may provide you with temporary pain relief.
Shingles in children are very rare, in some instances, if the child has had chickenpox they may develop shingles, however, this does not mean that all children who have had chickenpox will develop shingles.