Sometime end of last year, my daughter with eczema had a case of Shingles! We didn’t think it was shingles as it is not very common that young children (age 4) get shingles. But she did – as she also had chickenpox before at about age 2. (She also likely had many times of Hand Foot Mouth Disease!)
Before we cover the basics of shingles, just want to share our experience of a 4 year old eczema child getting shingles.
First 2-3 days: She got itchier than normally, and small red bumps started appearing around her torso. We didn’t know it’s shingles, how would we when it is not very different from eczema flare-up?
Next 2 days: More pronounced bumps and blisters on one side of her torso and she complained about some of the bumps being painful. We brought her to a general practitioner who then diagnosed it as shingles and gave her medication cream to apply.
Next 2-3 days: The blisters/ rashes subsided, and she’s as good as she normally is!
On hindsight, there are certain symptoms to look out for:
- The rashes being painful.
- The rashes being only on one half of her torso.
- The rashes looking a little different from her normal eczema rash (but really, it’s quite hard to tell in the first 2-3 days).
What we did:
Apart from the medication cream that the doctor prescribed, we did the usual and continued with moisturizing and shower. There’s no apparent change in her diet or sleep pattern. She got it after a few of her classmates were ill, so I’m not sure if a reduced immunity assisted in the onset of shingles. Now let’s find out more about it!
What is Shingles?
Shingles is an infection caused by the chicken pox virus (varicella zoster), and only people who had chickenpox can get shingles. This is because the virus still remained dormant in the body and later reactivated and become shingles.
Obviously, don’t go to school or crowded place (7 days). Someone who had not have chickenpox may get chickenpox after contact with one with shingles.
Who can get Shingles?
Generally, people over 50 with weaker immune system are at higher risk of shingles, if they had chickenpox before. But as we know, children as young as 4 year old can get shingles!
What are the Symptoms?
Various signs are pain, tingling, burning sensation on one side of body, mostly on the torso. This can be accompanied by fever, chills and headache. Blisters will develop in the next few days, get crusted and pain may linger after the blisters are healed.
How to treat Shingles?
No treatment needed, but the pain can be soothed by pain relievers or cold compress. Anti-viral medication or cream may be prescribed.
How to prevent Shingles?
Chicken pox vaccine can be considered for those who have not had chicken pox. Keeping immune system strong helps, i.e adequate sleep (something which an eczema child lacks of!), lower stress level and healthy lifestyle.
Share your experience in the comments too, it can help other parents going through the same!