Shingles in Toddlers
Chickenpox is no longer a rite of passage for children as it used to be. Varicella zoster is the virus that causes chickenpox. People who have had chickenpox are likely to develop another infectious disease known as shingles but this happens later in life. This viral infection appears as a rash on the skin in its early stages, causing pain and itchiness.
Toddlers who have suffered from chickenpox can also suffer from shingles, but that’s highly unlikely. It’s a viral infection common among adults who have suffered from chickenpox. Study findings show that shingles is not so common among children, but if it appears, it does so in mild form.
Usually after a person suffers from chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus survives in the nerve cells in a dormant form.
When this virus gets activated in the nerve cells it begins damaging the nerve slowly to an extent where it causes pain, itchiness, discomfort and rushes in the affected area. After getting sick or after taking medication that affects the immune system, a person is likely to develop shingles.
Shingles cause small rashes on the skin which later develop into blisters filled with some fluid. It can be a very painful experience for your child, but it’s a condition which cannot lead to a fever or make your child sick. Furthermore, it’s a very rare condition among children.
You should be careful with your toddler in case he gets infected with shingles because he can actually spread the virus to children who are not immunized. Any person who comes into contact with your toddler should be immunized against chickenpox to avoid getting infected by varicella zoster from your child.
Any child under the age of 3 is prone to a variety of viral infections. This is because children get exposed to viruses more than adults. Their immune system is also not as developed as it is in adults, and that’s why children can easily get sick if exposed to viruses.
The chances of your toddler getting infected with shingles are minimal, because as we said early it’s a condition very common in older adults who have had chickenpox. Shingles causing virus normally stays inactive in nerve cells for a very long time before later resurfacing as rashes.
Shingle is contagious but not airborne. If your toddler stays in the same room with a person suffering from shingles he cannot get the virus through the air.
However, the shingles virus can be transmitted to your toddler if he is not vaccinated against chickenpox and he comes into contact with the fluid found in blisters caused by shingles. If that occurs, your toddler can get chickenpox but not shingles.
Unlike chickenpox, which affects the whole body, if your child gets shingles, the condition causes rashes and blisters only on the affected area.
Here are the common symptoms of shingles in children:
- Shivering and irritation in the area where rushes show up
- A band of blisters in the affected area, mostly along the path of a damaged nerve.
- Tiredness and pain
- After a week the blisters filled with some fluid may begin to dry
In case your child gets shingles, you should inform your physician to assess the condition. It’s a condition that heals on its own, but it’s important to treat your toddler if you detect shingles.
In some cases, the rashes can spread to the face and affect your child’s vision. If this happens, you should inform your physician to help stop the infection from spreading to the eyes.
If you believe that your child has a weak immune system you should inform your doctor in case of a shingles attack. Many children who get shingles normally recover even without being treated. The best way to prevent your child from shingles is by immunizing them as early as possible.
Shingles can be treated through antiviral drugs, creams and ointments as prescribed by your doctor. So far the best way to reduce the risk of shingles is by vaccinating your child against chickenpox. The other best preventive measure is to ensure that your toddler doesn’t come into contact with people suffering from shingles.
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