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My 10yr old daughter has shingles -- how long will it last?

By Anonymous June 3, 2009 - 1:24pm
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Im 12. I have shingles. Ive had it for 1 week now.
I took 2 spoons of paracetamol
5 tablets. forgot the name
n a cream i forgot...
I still hve it now .... I heerd you can die from it if it circles your body D:
sO im very scared.
the worst thing is when i try to go asleep. I cant wear clothes of let cotton quilt touch it becz
it itches very bad causing burning n stinging... I dont wuna diee!!

March 17, 2010 - 7:28pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Anon.

I'm so very sorry you have shingles. I have had shingles myself, and I know how painful it is. And yes, it is the most painful when you are trying to go to sleep, and nothing can touch it. I understand totally.

But you are not going to die from it. That's what we call "an old wives tale" and it is NOT true.

Shingles sort of circles your body only because it follows your nerve endings (the nerve endings are what makes it hurt so bad). And your nerve endings circle your body, so the shingles follow them.

You are probably getting close to being over the worst of it. Shingles takes a long time to go away and the places where you had it are sensitive for even longer. But you'll be fine. I promise.

OK? Is that better?


March 18, 2010 - 8:49am

Hi Anon,

Shingles are definitely no fun at all. I had them in high school when I was about 15 years old. Mine lasted at least 2 months. They appeared on the left side of my back and slowly spread in a small circle. After they started to go away, they left a noticeable scar for about a year. It has now faded and become barely visible.

My worst experience with shingles was the tingles and sensitivity I felt on the left side of my body. It is the strangest feeling that is difficult to describe. I used a topical ointment I received from the dermatologist, which helped with the symptoms and appearance.

I was quite embarrassed when I had them. It seemed like a disease that one would get from visiting a desolate foreign country. The name alone, makes people say...um what do you have?

They definitely go away and the better care you take and the more prompt you are to do so, the faster the process will be! I would also suggest a anti-scar lotion or something similar.

Good luck and make sure your daughter sees a doctor.

June 8, 2009 - 9:24am
EmpowHER Guest

So sorry your daughter had to go through the SHINGLES!
Wow- I just got over the Shingles!
I got them on March 4th.
I am still itching alittle after all this time.
Valtrex, I believe is the Antiviral they gave to me within 24 hours of symptoms.
I would share more with you, please call or email.
I sure have alot to say on this illness.
Never have I experienced anything quite like this one. (for me it was worse than the Chicken Pox)

Michelle W Seamons

June 5, 2009 - 9:05pm

Anon, did you get your daughter to a doctor right away? There is medicine they can give her -- if she starts it very soon after the outbreak -- that will alleviate her symptoms somewhat. But it needs to be started quickly.

I had shingles several years ago. It was extraordinarily painful. Nerve pain is like no other kind of pain I've experienced, because it hurts even when you are not touching it or not doing anything with it. I remember that it hurt even if the breeze from the ceiling fan touched it, or a plain cotton sheet. And it's a stinging hurt, almost like a burning.

I'm so sorry your daughter has shingles. I'm glad she has you by her side to help her try and feel better. My shingles seemed to heal up in just a few weeks, though I remember feeling the small stabbing pains sometimes even after it was healed up on the surface.

Where is her outbreak? My husband had an outbreak once that was around his torso. Mine was around a thigh. The outbreaks tend to follow the path of a specific set of nerves in a diagonal and/or circular pattern.

Is there any more information we can find for you?

June 5, 2009 - 8:34am
HERWriter Guide

Dear Anon

Thanks for your question and for posting here on EmpowHer!

Since your child has shingles, she has already has had chickenpox. This is quite rare in children - it's (shingles) much more common in adults!

From our Encyclopedia, your daughters symptoms of shingles include:

■Appears as a red, slightly raised band or patch often overlain with multiple small fluid-filled blisters
■Develops on one side of the body or the other, but typically does not cross the midline
■In severe cases may spread to multiple parts of the body—the so-called “disseminated” zoster
■Blisters dry out and crust (within several days)
■Affects mostly the torso and face
◦Affected eyes (in severe cases), which can seriously threaten vision
◦Pain on the skin at the site of the rash, which is usually severe
◦Tingling or itchiness on the skin, which may start a few days before the rash
◦Skin in the affected area is unusually sensitive to touch

With regard to how long it will take your daughter to heal:

The rash usually disappears within three weeks. In some patients, the pain continues long after the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). It refers to pain in the affected area for months, or even years afterward. PHN pain is difficult to treat. It can also be very severe.

Be careful during this time to avoid exposing your daughter to other people, especially those who have not had the chicken pox vaccine. While shingles is not contagious, someone with shingles can give another person the chicken pox virus.

To help your daughter during this time, we also have some great tips:

Shingles cannot be cured. Treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms, speeding recovery, and preventing PHN.

Itch and Pain Relief
Itching may be relieved by:

◦Calamine lotion
◦Wet compresses
◦Frequent oatmeal baths

Over-the-counter pain relievers include:

◦Oral medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve)
◦Capsaicin, a substance originally derived from hot peppers, can be applied topically

Prescription drugs may be given to relieve pain that doesn't respond to over-the-counter remedies.

Antiviral Drugs
Certain antiviral medications may control shingles by changing how the virus reproduces in nerve cells. They include:

◦Acyclovir (Zovirax)
◦Famciclovir (Famvir)
◦Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

Antiviral therapy may shorten an episode of shingles, but only if started within 48-72 hours after symptoms first develop. These medications can also reduce the severity and duration of PHN. These medications are for patients with the highest risk for this condition (ie, over 55).

A short course of oral steroid medication (eg, prednisone) may also be prescribed for patients whose immune system is functioning normally.

Postherpetic Neuralgia
Taking antiviral medications before PHN develops is the most effective way to reduce its severity.

A variety of other treatments are available to help as well:

◦Capsaicin—topical ointment may also be useful for PHN
◦Tricyclic antidepressants—typically prescribed in doses lower than those needed to treat depression
■An SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) may also be prescribed.
◦Lidoderm patch—a transdermal form of lidocaine (a local anesthetic), in which the medication is gradually absorbed across the skin
◦Gabapentin—an anti-seizure medication also useful to treat PHN
◦Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)—a device that generates low-level pulses of electrical current and applies it to the skin's surface
◦Nerve blocks—injections near nerves that may be used to provide temporary pain relief (usually used as a last resort)

Obviously, natural methods of healing and comfort-giving are best, especially for a child. Be sure to speak with a health care professional before administering any kind of medication or treatment.

I hope your daughter feels better soon, I know shingles can be very uncomfortable and painful. We wish her a speedy recovery!

Please let us know if this information has helped you!

June 3, 2009 - 1:53pm
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