Though it is an uncommon infection for children, shingles can impact children of any age. This condition can cause blisters on any region of the body, which may make laying down or sitting painful. Parents hoping to help a young child suffering from shingles can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with the virus.
Though about half of all shingles cases involve people older than 60, it rarely affects teenagers, children or infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Your child may be most at risk for shingles if he contracted chickenpox during the first year of his life. Children suffering from chickenpox typically have blisters spreading all over their bodies -- these blisters are usually confined to one area or part of the body.
If your child had chickenpox, it is possible that your child could be diagnosed with shingles later on, as these conditions are caused by the same virus, according to the Mayo Clinic. A chickenpox vaccination may prevent children from developing shingles later on -- a child may also be more susceptible to shingles if her mother contracted chickenpox late in pregnancy.
Once a child contracts shingles, medications may relieve some of the pain but the virus has to run its course, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Antiviral drugs prescribed by a doctor may be able to relieve your child's pain and reduce nerve damage. Keeping infected areas covered and washing your child's hands frequently can prevent transmission of the virus, which may cause chickenpox in those not previously affected.
The shingles vaccination is currently available only to people 60 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A doctor must take skin scrapings from your child's blisters to confirm a shingles diagnosis, as rashes and blisters could be caused by another, similar infection. Parents should never treat a child for shingles without first contacting a doctor for help.