J.C. asks from Presque Isle, ME on June 24, 2010
Shingles Without Having Chickenpox...is That Possible W/ an 11 Year Old?
Doctors believe my 11 year old niece has Shingles. She has never had Chickenpox. Is this possible?
E.K. answers from Hartford on June 25, 2010
Yes, Shingles is the "adult" version of Chicken Pox. But even if you've had Chicken Pox and/or the vaccine for it, it's possible to get Shingles.
T.C. answers from Colorado Springs on June 24, 2010
If she was vaccinated against the chicken pox, then she can get the shingles. This is one of the very negative side effects of the chicken pox vaccine. Young people are now coming down with the shingles, which is so much worse than the chicken pox. This was unheard of before this vaccination. Only elderly people with a poor immune system would get it previously (by and large). Also, when we had chicken pox in the culture all around us, it acted like a booster to our systems. This helped most people not get shingles throughout their lives. We don't have that anymore, so more and more people are susceptible to shingles. We have a mess on our hands.
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M.R. answers from Columbus on June 24, 2010
She may have had the chicken pox and not known. If she has shingles, she had chicken pox. Many cases are very mild, espeically kids who get it after the vacine. My child had the chickent pox, no vaccine, and not a very big case at that, and she gets shingles. You can assume that this child has had exposure to the live virus and that it is in her system.
There have always been out breaks of shingles in children, though not common, it is not unheard of. Anyone with the live virus dorment in thier bodies (anyone who has had chicken pox or accuired amunity) can have the virus re-express as shingles, though it it much more common in older adults.
If she has had shingles once, it is likely that she will get it again. She should be on anti virial medications and precription pain killers. Shingles are extreemly painful. My daughter gets these, and when they are anywhere on her head or face it causes unbearably painful and her doctor considered a morphine drip because the pain was intollerable, even on codine, on her body, codine will usually keep her comfortable. Just advocate for her and don't let her be in pain, because a lingering neurolgical pain that can hang on for months and months is more likely if the pain is allowed to get out of control and the outbreak is allowed to spread uncontrolled. Start the anti viral medications (usually valtrex) within 24 to 48 hours of an outbreak and the outbreak may be much milder and end sooner.
If it is a persistent problem, see a pediatric infecious desease specialist, they will put her on antivirals for 6 months or so, and it may stop reoccuring. My daughter has been shingels free for almost a year, knock on wood. I would not wish these on anybody, they are horrible!
I am usually pretty tolerant of natural remedy suggestions, but I can't keep my mouth shut on this one. Ice will do nothing but make a child in horrible, horrible, horrible pain cold too. I'm sorry, but it would be negletful and abusive to treat a child with shingles using vitamines and ice packs when they need antivirals and narcotics; please use standard medical care for this poor baby.
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J.M. answers from Boston on June 24, 2010
Did she have the chickenpox vaccine? Because then she has the chickenpox antibodies, and then perhaps she can develop shingles. She should check with her doctor to see if this is a possibility.
R.K. answers from Boston on June 25, 2010
was she vaccinated? The vax is a live virus so I'm almost positive that because of that they can get shingles w/o having had chickenpox. Poor kid. I hope she feels better soon.
S.B. answers from Redding on June 24, 2010
Oh my goodness.
I do not really appreciate the honor, but I am the shingles queen.
I had it so bad that I am actually in a medical journal somewhere.
Shingles is a result of the same virus that causes chicken pox. It's a form of the herpes virus. Once you've had chicken pox, it can lay dormant in your spine and may or may not result in shingles later in life. I was one of the unfortunate few.
Are you certain your niece never had chicken pox? Could it have been such a small case that it was misconstrued as hives or another type of rash?
I don't believe that the chicken pox vaccine can result in shingles. It's meant to avoid it. May I say that everyone in my family had chicken pox and I am the only one who went on to develp shingles. I was pregnant and my immune system was compromised and I was under tons of stress.
Your niece may well have a variation of the herpes virus, which I had years before actually getting shingles and it was diagnosed with a biopsy. It wasn't true shingles.
Your niece may well have it, but she may have had such a mild case of a previous outbreak of the virus it was attributed to something else.
Shingles are torture. They are usually contained to a certain area. The pain is relentless. I only know from my case, but it's far worse than childbirth so I would imagine the child is in extreme discomfort.
There are antivirals that can be given, but they won't help if that's not truly what it is.
Could she be experiencing a serious case of hives?
I only ask that because when my daughter broke out head to toe, I took her to the doctor and he said it was chicken pox. The next day, there wasn't a mark on her. It was hives. Benadryl helped and she got it again.
It wasnt chicken pox or shingles.
Shingles blisters are very unique and easily spotted. They don't itch. It feels like your skin is being scraped off. I had it on my chest and I literally couldn't breathe. I felt like 20 tons was sitting on me and I was being crushed.
She may have shingles, but if so, she's had the chicken pox virus in her system and shots will not cause it. That's what I've been told anyway.
I wish her the best.
K.B. answers from Milwaukee on June 24, 2010
You can NOT get shingles without having the chicken pox... a doctor knows when it is shingles, it is easy to figure out if they see the rash/sores. Shingles is a dormant cell which you only get from chicken pox and who knows why it becomes active (speculation that it could become active due to high stress or weakened immune system).
WITH THAT It could be that your niece got the chicken pox and it quickly turned into shingles there for noone realizing she got the chicken pox (it is possible and does happen but mainly in adults who are 18 years and older). Either way she had the chicken pox either very recent or a while back and it was such a mild case that it never bothered her or raised a question from parents (or whomever).
I would look up online of what it looks like... be warned that the pictures you find are extreme cases and are the worse of the worse, all shingles do not look horrible. When I got shingles, earlier this year, I got a blistering rash about the size of a softball on the right side of my belly. It was (and still is off and on) VERY painful either like someone stabbing me in that area or pinching the nerves inside of me. One usually gets shingles only on side of the body, the blister/sores will scab over, and it will take a few weeks for the scabs to start to fade (I still have scares where I got mine but it is slowly fading).
M.H. answers from Atlanta on June 24, 2010
If she's had the vaccine she can contract the disease without having a full blown case. My husband had chicken pox last summer and only had about 12 pox. It could be possible that she had it and no one knew...unlikely, but possible. I believe my husband's case was a mild case because he has such a strong immune system. I know for a fact that people will NOT contract shingles if there immune system is working properly. That's why it is typically seem in elderly people. If your 11 year old niece really has it, it's a red flag that there are other issues going on in her health and your family needs to investigate as soon as this crisis is over.
A few things I have learned over the years that aren't common knowledge... The virus can be slowed down and fewer breakouts will occur if there is ice applied. Refreezable ice packs that don't get that cold are good and also give some comfort. An absorbable multivitamin/mineral complex will build the immune system and get someone over it much faster. I had a friend that contracted it. I recommended my vitamin and her's was completely gone in two weeks. High grade tea tree oil can heal the sores topically and also absorbs deeper to the root and can fight it off better than anything else topically.
Hope this info helps!
T.S. answers from Sacramento on June 24, 2010
If she's had the vaccine it's like having had chickenpox, so she COULD get shingles. I had a student this school year (7th grade) who had shingles. She was very stressed, going through a very difficult home situation. Anyway the doctors said it was shingles in her too, and was related to the stress.