Shingles is a debilitating disorder that can leave its sufferers nearly crippled with pain. If you know someone who is suffering from shingles, like a grandparent or other relative, you might be concerned about whether or not your child will be safe around them. Shingles is a complicated subject that is often misunderstood, even by those who have it. Read on to learn about shingles and whether it poses a risk to your child.
Understanding the Shingles Virus
Shingles is the name of a disease where the sufferer breaks out in a shingle-like rash and inflammation on various parts of the body. It can be internal or external, and it typically causes severe nerve pain that makes it difficult to function. However, shingles is directly connected to another disease: chicken pox.
Chicken pox and shingles are actually caused by the exact same virus. People who develop shingles have been exposed to chicken pox at some point in their lives. In this way, your child is safe from developing shingles directly. However, that doesn't mean that it's entirely safe for your child to be around someone with shingles.
The Risk for Children
People who have shingles can potentially infect children with chicken pox. Typically, transmission is only possible during a shingles flare-up. The virus responsible for shingles never completely goes away, but the symptoms often come and go. If the infected person in question has no symptoms at the moment, it's typically safe for people to be around them. However, someone who has an active break-out could potentially spread the virus to your child, infecting them with the chicken pox.
There are a few ways you can protect your child if you want them to be around someone who has shingles. The best thing you can do is to have your child vaccinated against chicken pox by a pediatrician service. This will introduce the virus to your child's body in a safe way that allows their body to produce antibodies to keep them safe from further exposure to the virus. If your child has been vaccinated, they won't get the chicken pox from interacting with someone who has shingles.
Alternatively, if your child has already had the chicken pox, you don't need to worry about letting them spend time with someone who has shingles. Their body will have already developed antibodies and can't develop chicken pox again.
Shingles is a dangerous disease for those who suffer from it, but that doesn't mean you have to cut them out of your child's life. With proper precautions, your child will be able to spend time with anyone who has shingles without any threat to their own health.