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Care and Treatment for Kids with Shingles

Care and Treatment for Kids with Shingles

Shingles, a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, can never be fatal but surely be extremely painful. It is also called herpes zoster. Caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the significant shingles symptoms in kids is a blistered rash appearing on one half of the body accompanied by high-degree pain and tingling/itching. The shingles rash in kids can be formed in a shape of a band, a strip, or a (scattered) small area. 

The shingles blisters tend to heal within 3-4 weeks, but shingle pain in kids is experienced for longer, leaving your body with post-herpetic neuralgia. Where timely medications can save children from severe complications, proper follow-up care and medical tests are necessary to keep them healthy & safe.

How Can You Care for Your Child with Shingles?

  • Make sure your kid is taking prescribed anti-viral shingles medications regularly while following the protocols. 
  • If you find a problem with the treatment, extreme pain, or sudden discomfort, contact your health practitioner.
  • Give special attention to your child to keep them from scratching or picking at the blisters. The crust will be formed over the blisters and fall off naturally. Scratching may cause scarring.
  • Manage stress and try getting plenty of rest.
  • You are welcomed to lather petroleum jelly or any other thick ointment on sores but keep it in a limited amount as it hinders drying and healing.
  • Ask your child to wash hands frequently and consistently if they have touched the blisters or shingles spots. It helps control the risk of transmission. 
  • Avoid scented or perfumed shingles cream, and lotions as they are terrible irritants.
  • Never put excessive calamine lotion, or it will harden and make it challenging to get off.
  • Look after the amount of acetaminophen in pain medicines because excessive consumption can lead to serious consequences.
  • For short-term relief from soreness and itching, place a soft-to-feel piece of cloth soaked in cold water on the blistered area several times throughout the day. A cool, moist compress soothes painful shingles rash. Applying an ice pack can be harmful as extreme coldness may trigger skin sensitivity, intensifying the pain.
  • It would help if you kept the rashes covered with a sterilised and non-stick dressing.
  • Can a child go to school with shingles? No, do not let your children with shingles get in close contact with others.
  • By soaking the blisters with loose crusts in tap water, you can quickly get rid of scabs, decrease oozing pus, and dry the skin rapidly.
  • Treating shingles with a fragrance-free cleanser is advised.
  • Never give your child multiple pain medicines in combination without consulting a doctor.
  • While giving your child Tylenol or ibuprofen, carefully follow each instruction.
  • To speed up the healing, the blisters need to be dried out, which is possible by putting corn starch or baking soda paste on the lesions. It is made by mixing 1-part water and 2-parts cornstarch or baking soda for the desired consistency. Once applied, leave the paste for 10-15 minutes and rinse.
  • It is better to avoid applying antibiotic ointments on the sores.
  • Use loose-fitting clothing and prefer natural fibres, such as cotton, to let the skin breathe.

Cool Bath

The easiest way to alleviate sore’s pain, calm itchiness, and soothe skin inflammation is to take a cold water shower—hot water upturns blood flow, which can worsen blisters. To double the comfort, give your kid an oatmeal bath.

Apart from appeasing the tingling sensation, a cool bath offers cleansing, which is necessary for minimising the risk of infection spread.


Dietary changes can play an essential role in curing shingles. The kids with shingles must have a diet all focused on vitamins A, B-12, C, and E as these can strengthen your immunity. The food with higher quantities of amino acid lysine may be equally beneficial. For faster and efficient healing, have the following items:

  • Citrus fruits, including orange and yellow fruits
  • Leafy green vegetables, particularly spinach
  • Red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Poultry (eggs & chicken)
  • Fish (with healthy fatty acids/omegas)
  • Milk
  • Tomatoes
  • Legumes and beans

Foods the kid must avoid:

  • High-sugar-containing food and juices
  • Arginine-rich items, such as chocolate and nuts (may help the virus reproduce at a faster rate)
  • refined carbohydrates
  • High saturated fat-containing items

shingles rash

How to Treat Shingles in Kids? Treatment for Shingles

If your child has a facial rash, particularly around the eyes, that appears infected, and has not been healed in 10-14 days, visit a GP. In case the child has a fever, you must not delay and have a proper check-up.

Does a child with shingles need treatment? Yes. Well, there is no treatment for kids with Shingles. Medication for shingles is provided to the child only to make them feel slightly comfortable and relieve pain. The treatment is recommended considering the child’s signs & symptoms, age, shingles severity, and other health complications.

Antiviral for Shingles

Typically, the disease management comprises antiviral medications (acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir) that must be consumed within 24 hours to 3 days after first noticing signs of shingles in kids - the better, the sooner! Antiviral medication is aimed at shortening the length of blisters taken to heal, lessening the severity, and decreasing the chances of developing long-lasting nerve pain.

Generally, a corticosteroid may be prescribed to control inflammation. The paediatrician may advise over-the-counter pain or prescription pain medications for extra comfort. You better consult with your GP before giving the kid acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever.

  • Ibuprofen is not suitable for a child younger than six months old.
  • Aspirin is not ideal for a child under 12 years(it can cause Reye syndrome).

Anti-Itch Creams

The best practice to treat Shingles is using anti-itch creams and soothing, unscented lotions for calming effects. The most commonly prescribed item is ‘calamine lotion.’ Along with soothing skin, it helps blisters dry out. These are not useful in speeding up the healing process but are applied after baths and showers to decrease the discomfort level.


Shingle in kids has become very common recently. If your kid appears to have shingles, he must be checked thoroughly within 72 hours of getting the blisters. Starting treatment sooner will significantly reduce severe symptoms and decrease the time rashes stay. 

How long do shingles last? Typically, the sores are healed within 2-4 weeks. Apply calamine lotion, take anti-viral medication, and have a cold oatmeal bath to recover faster.

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