Having children is not a right, it is a privilege. And this privilege comes with a set of responsibilities. You need to take care of your child’s health, education, and overall upbringing.
Children have fragile immune systems. Keeping them healthy is a battle all mothers have to fight. But it is not an easy battle by any means. Of the many diseases you have to watch out for, shingles is one of the most common. It may be harmless but can surely cause a lot of discomfort.
So, let’s learn more about can children get shingles and ways to deal with it.
What Causes Shingles In Children?
Is shingles contagious to children? The chickenpox virus causes shingles. But unlike chickenpox, shingles is not contagious. That is; you cannot get shingles from another person. Your child can only get shingles if she has already got chickenpox. Most children with shingles are three years or older. For some unknown reason, the chickenpox virus can stay dormant for years in your child’s body. Wh
[ Read: Molluscum Contagiosum In Children ]
Who Is More At Risk From Shingles?
More often than not, it is women over 50 who are most at risk from shingles. But there are some other factors that can make one more susceptible to shingles:
- Weakened Immune System: If your child has a weak immune system due medical conditions such as HIV, lymphoma, or leukemia, she is more likely to get shingles.
- Radiation Therapy: If your child is undergoing radiation therapy, she too can get shingles.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles In Children?
Children often get rashes. So, how will you know if your child has shingles? Check your child for the following signs and symptoms to get a better idea:
The most evident sign of shingles is a rash. But the shingles rash is different from other rashes. You’ll know it is shingles if the rash:
- Is red and slightly raised
- Has fluid-filled blisters that dry out in some days
- Develops on one side of the body
- Dots the torso and face, leaving the rest of the body alone.
[ Read: Heat Rash In Children ]
Many children experience pain and sensitivity at the rash sites.
Fever is another common shingles symptom
If your child has a rash and complains of headache, you can suspect shingles.
Your child may also look tired and dull if she has shingles.
In most cases, the rash and other symptoms go away within a few weeks. But in rare cases, your child can develop post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is more difficult to treat.
[ Read: Ringworm In Kids ]
When To See The Doctor?
Most shingle cases are harmless and resolve without medical intervention. But do see your doctor if:
- You notice a rash near the eye or nose.
- The rash turns too painful or itchy.
- The rash doesn’t go away within two-three weeks.
- The rash looks infected.
Shingles cannot be treated. It can only be managed. Here are some ways you can make your child more comfortable:
If your child is in pain, give her Tylenol or Advil. Never give your child aspirin as it is known to cause Reye’s syndrome in children (1). You can also use antiviral medication to help beat the disease faster. But you’ll need to start the treatment within 48-72 hours after symptoms first develop.
2. Prevent Scratching:
Most children do not get an itchy rash during a shingles outbreak. But if your child does, discourage her from scratching or picking.
3. Use Calamine Lotion:
If the itch is severe, you can use calamine lotion to give your child some relief (2).
4. Wet Compresses:
Wet compresses are an easy way to treat a number of skin issues, including shingles (3).
5. Frequent Oatmeal Baths:
Oatmeal is a blessing for your skin (4). You can give your child frequent oatmeal baths to give her relief from the pain and itch that comes with shingles.
[ Read: Smallpox In Children ]
Shingles – Complications To Watch Out For:
One of the major complications that can come with kids shingles is Post-herpetic Neuralgia (PHN). Fortunately, children are less likely to develop PHN (5). But if your child does develop this painful condition, don’t worry. Medical science has much to offer.
Your doctor may use the following lines of treatment to treat PHN:
- Antidepressants (6)
- Antiseizure medications (7)
- Pain relievers
- Lidoderm patch (8)
- Nerve blocks (9)
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) (10).
Another common complication that arises out of shingles is shingles of the eyes. If your child develops a rash on her face, contact your doctor immediately. Without prompt treatment, there is a risk of permanent eye damage.
As a mother, your child’s health is your top most concern. If your child has received her chickenpox vaccination, you can breath easy. But if that is not the case, and if she does end up with shingles, don’t lose sleep over it. It is a relatively mild problem, which will resolve on its own. So, relax and help your child beat the virus!
Do you know of any other home remedy for treating shingles? Tell us.
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