Shingles is a disease caused by the chickenpox virus. Your child can only get shingles if he or she has already had chickenpox or the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. With shingles, your child will have a rash.
Your child will not have a fever or feel sick.
Shingles (zoster) is caused by the chickenpox virus. The disease is not caught from other people who have shingles or chickenpox. The chickenpox virus stays inactive (dormant) in the bodies of some people and is reactivated for unknown reasons as shingles, not as chickenpox. Children with shingles are usually over age 3 years.
The vaccine strain of chickenpox can also cause shingles, but this type of shingles is less severe than the shingles that people get after the wild-type of chickenpox. Because many children have now received the chickenpox vaccine, shingles from the vaccine-strain is becoming more common, but a child’s relative risk of shingles is still higher if the child has had the wild-type varicella infection. So getting the varicella vaccine reduces the risk and the severity of later shingles.
New rashes continue to appear for several days. All the rash dries up by 7 to 10 days. Complications do not occur unless the shingles affect the eyes. If zoster involves the nose, the cornea is usually also affected. Most people have shingles just once. A second attack occurs in only 5% of children.
Most children have the rash but no symptoms. For pain, give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) as needed. Do not give aspirin because of the possible link of aspirin with Reye's syndrome in children. Discourage scratching or picking the rash. The rash does not need any cream.
Children with shingles can transmit chickenpox (but not shingles) to others. Transmission occurs by touching the rash. Although they are far less contagious than children with chickenpox, children with shingles may need to stay home from school for 7 days unless they can keep the rash covered until it crusts over. Children or adults who have not had chickenpox should avoid visiting a child with shingles (again unless the rash is covered).
Call IMMEDIATELY if:
Call during office hours if: