Shingles and Chicken Pox

Updated on March 10, 2009
A.C. asks from Harpers Ferry, WV
11 answers

I am really sick with shingles right now. (Shingles is an adult-form of chicken pox that lives in your nerve roots and comes out when you get stressed.) I feel terrible. But I feel more terrible because I may infect my 4-month-old with chicken pox (shingles is contagious in the form of chicken pox to people who have never had them). I'm keeping covered up as best as I can, but I'm still worried that he'll catch it. Has anyone had a similar experience? Do any of you have any tips for baby chicken pox relief in case he gets it? I feel horrible and I'm worried.

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter had chicken pox TWICE before she was one! She got it the first time when we were in the hospital for some tests, and the second time she got it from my MIL who had shingles (but didn't know it at the time). The first outbreak was when she was 6 months old, and honestly, it didn't really bother her. She was covered head to foot in blisters, but she never really scratched at them. She ran a low fever for about a week. I used Aveeno baby wash and calamine lotion (upon the Drs advice). The second outbreak was much more mild, only a few blisters on her torso and legs which also didn't seem to bother her too much.

If you see blisters, take him to the Dr, but there isn't too much you can do but wait it out. Good luck!

M.

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

You really should see a doctor if you suspect or know you have shingles. My cardiologist treated me when I had them once. He said if untreated, it can have very serious consequences. You need a med yourself. Definitely, if the babe contracts, seek out the doctor right away.

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J.H.

answers from Roanoke on

Hi, I know you are probably panicing, but I wouldn't. I have never seen the chicken pox or shingles, but I had them when I was about 10 days old. My mom says that they didn't seem to bother me, she gave me oatmeal baths and nothing else. The good thing is I got natural immunity at a very early age and never had to have them later!!! Sorry that you have shingles...I have heard they are very painful!!!

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I was in the exact same position last spring with my infant. I had them on my stomach and in my mouth - and I was nursing - and worse, I ignored them for several weeks becuase it never occurred to me I had SHINGLES of all things!

Once I found out, I wore an undergarment on my stomach, either "girdle" for lack of a better description or a tank top to cover the blisters. And I always made sure my daughter was well covered (like a onesie long sleeve pajama) when I held her. I didn't kiss her or rub my nose or eyes and touch her. I washed my hands 20 times per day and always before I touched her. The worst thing was that I was worried they would spread and I would infect her if I had a new outbreak. I was really scared, but she never got it and neither did my 4-year old.

Call you pediatrician so they are aware, and they might have some advice. Mine told me that it was unlikely she would catch it if I stayed covered, but that if I saw any signs - fever, runny nose, or redness - to bring her in right away.

Best advice is to take care of yourself - your stress, diet, and overall wellness may be why you developed shingles. It is hard to take care of yourself as a new mom, and if you let your own health suffer, stuff like this happens. Luckily, once they clear up, I htink you are immune to them!!

Good luck!

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T.L.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi A.,

I recently went through a shingles outbreak during the last month of my pregnancy with a 2.5 year old at home. Thankfully my son did not contract chickenpox. I'm not sure where your outbreak is (mine was on my face, so no kisses) but I quarantined myself as much as possible. Just avoid direct contact and remember to wash your hands constantly. If you are breastfeeding, you are likely passing the antibodies to the baby (I know that was the case for the baby in utero. I was home with my son but I took help from friends who stay at home so he could get out of the house during the day about twice a week and in the evening my husband took over the entertaining. In about three weeks, the shingles were all clear. Good luck!

T.

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R.A.

answers from Norfolk on

While I've never had shingles, I've known people who have, and I sympathize with you. My daughter was exposed to chicken pox at 9 mos. The doctors said she wouldn't get them due to a natural immunity babies have the first year. They were wrong! She got a terrible case - even inside her ears and on the bottoms of her feet. The good thing was she was too young to know how to scratch and didn't scar at all! It if happens - Benedril. Good luck.

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J.C.

answers from Richmond on

Hi A. - I know I may be late on responding. But.. make sure you get medication for your Shingles from a doctor - otherwise it can cause permanent damage to your nerves! The Shingles should not be a threat to your child unless it is at a blistering type level.. keeping covered up should be sufficient. I had Shingles shortly after my second was born so with a 2 year old and a baby..neither got Chicken pox and I was told they shouldn't unless it was blistered and "open" to allow the virus to be exposed. Please get meds for yourself asap!

best of luck -- J.

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N.F.

answers from Washington DC on

I had shingles last year, and my natural doctor put me on extra doses of a B complex supplement and Lysine, which is an amino acid that helps keep skin healthy. Within two days of taking the meds, I was feeling better and the pain was virtually gone. Those are fairly common items, so you should be able to get them at a healthfood store. I also had a baby that hadn't been vaccinated for chicken pox yet, and she never got them. Shingles is spread through contact, so try to cover up the affected areas. Good luck.

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T.B.

answers from Norfolk on

A.,
Sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this. If your baby gets chicken pox there really is nothing to do but wait for them to run their course (at least that is what I remember being told). I was told to give my daughter oatmeal baths (you can buy the stuff for that at any drug store) and to use calamine lotion on her. We also had to keep gloves (or socks) on her hands all the time (and of course trim her finger nails) to keep her from scratching herself.

From what we are told to look for in Day care, Chicken pox will first show up in the warm places of their body. IE: behind the ears, in the diaper region, and near the joints (under the arms, behind the knees, etc.).

Good luck! I hope you get better soon and that your little one does not get them!!!

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P.P.

answers from Washington DC on

Ask you doctor about Zovirax. It is used to treat herpes but works on chicken pox too. My daughter took it when she got chicken pox at age 5. We started her on it the first day and she had a VERY mild case, less than 10 sores(it stops the development of new sores). It should also help with your shingles. Good luck.

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi A.~ When my second child was born, her then 4 year old sister got chicken pox, after having the vaccine!! The older sister gave it to my daughter as a newborn (2 days old). I actually thought that it was baby acne!! It ran it's course and she is fine and happy that she didn't have to get the chicken pox vaccine! If your son gets the chicken pox, he will be fine. Oatmeal baths (you can use regular oatmeal from the grocery store it the other doesn't fit into your budget).

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