Shingles in Children
If you are a parent, you should be informed about shingles in children. Let us first explain what shingles is. This condition is caused by varicella zoster virus (the same one that causes chickenpox). There is a vaccine used in preventing shingles, but it cannot be applied in every patient. There are patients who are not recommended to get this vaccine, like people with cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, lymphoma; people who use other drugs and women who are trying to get pregnant.
People who have had chicken pox in their childhood probably have this virus dormant in the body; it can stay inactive for years. However, the virus can reactivate due to the immune system problems. If your immunity gets weaker, there are high chances to get shingles again. People who are older than fifty-five also have more chances to develop shingles, since their immune system is not as strong as in young people.
How Do Children Get Shingles?
Children are also very prone to this condition. Their immune system is still weak and not quite capable of fighting infections and viruses. If your child is less than a year old and has chickenpox, this can increase the chances for developing shingles as well. A mother who has developed shingles during the last few weeks of her pregnancy can transfer it to a baby. There is another reason why children can develop shingles very easily. The fact is that they are not aware that they have to take care of their hygiene and they are often in groups with other children. That is why they can easily develop not only shingles (or chickenpox) but other infections as well.
Shingles symptoms in children are pretty much the same as in adults. Skin rash appears in the same pattern as in adults and the pain is present as well. Blisters form after a while and the crusts form after the blister fluids are out. The healing process is over as soon as the crusts are gone. Now, it is very important for your child not to touch the crusts. Your child should stay at home for as long as it takes for shingles to go away completely. Keep in mind that the blister phase is the most contagious phase, so your child needs to be at home. The crusts will fall off spontaneously, so do not let your child touch them. The pain is also present, but not as strong as in adults. Other symptoms that are characteristic for shingles in adults are less common in children. These are nausea and fever.