Shingles in children is not common. A child is more at risk for shingles if either of these are true:
Children who get the chickenpox vaccine still have a small risk for shingles. But it may be a lower risk than after a chickenpox infection. And the symptoms may be less severe. The risk of shingles increases with age. A child with a weak immune systems may have the same, or more severe, symptoms as an adult.
The symptoms start with pain, burning, tingling, or itching on one part of the face or body. The rash can appear up to 5 days after these symptoms.
The shingles rash most often occurs on the torso and buttocks. It may also appear on the arms, legs, or face. The rash starts as small, red spots that turn into blisters. The blisters turn yellow and dry. The rash is usually only on one side or part of the body. It goes away in 2 to 4 weeks.
Your child may also have symptoms such as:
The symptoms of shingles can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment right away with antiviral medicine may help lessen how long the symptoms last and how serious they are. These antiviral medicines work better the sooner they are started. Your child may be given acyclovir, famcyclovir, or valacyclovir. Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.
Ask the healthcare provider about over-the-counter pain medicine. You may be able to give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and discomfort. Don't give ibuprofen to a child younger than 6 months old, unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Don't give aspirin to children. Aspirin can cause a serious health condition called Reye syndrome.
If your child’s pain is severe, the healthcare provider may prescribe stronger pain medicine.
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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