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What is Shingles and How is it Treated?

Shingles, which is also called herpes zoster, is a reactivation of previous chicken pox or varicella zoster virus infection and is extremely rare in children under ten years of age. Both chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (zoster) cause chickenpox in susceptible children and adults who do not have immunity, either by disease or immunization. Remember, you can’t get shingles without first having chickenpox or the vaccine

With everything that parents have to worry about these days, singles just seems like one thing that would be better off eradicated. Is this really a concern that parents have to keep in mind, in this day and age when modern medicine has accomplished so much? What are the odds that your child will actually be affected by shingles? What precautions can you take?

These are all questions that need to be answered – no matter how busy parents are, or how many things there are to worry about! Shingles is not a life-threatening condition – this is the good news. If your child catches shingles, she is going to be ok. But shingles can be a very painful and debilitating condition while you have it ­– so understanding the ins and outs of shingles is important.

Shingles is a viral infection and results in a rash, and this rash is usually painful. It can happen anywhere on the body, but the most common place for shingles to appear is on the side of the patient’s torso. A line of blisters will typically appear on this area when shingles is present.

Here’s the interesting part: Shingles is actually caused by the very same virus (varicella-zoster) that causes chickenpox. We all know that once you’ve had chickenpox, you can’t get them again. However, the virus never actually leaves the body. It waits in the nerves near your brain and/or spinal cord, and eventually can express itself as shingles.

As a parent, what should you look out for?

The aforementioned “stripe” of blisters on the side of the torso is the most obvious sign of shingles. In general, symptoms can include: itching, sensitivity, pain, numbness, a bright red rash, and blisters filled with fluid that eventually break open.

It’s also possible that your child (or anyone) may experience tiredness, increased sensitivity to light, fever, and/or headache. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to get your child into an urgent care center for immediate diagnosis and treatment – without the wait.

There are some cases in which shingles can be severe – usually in conjunction with other illnesses. If your child has a rash near the eyes, you should get in to see a doctor immediately. It’s also possible that children with compromised immune systems could experience a serious shingles infection.

Antiviral medicines are typically used to shorten the duration of a shingles infection, but the virus will remain dormant in the body. Most people only get shingles once – however, certain individuals can have this problem twice, or even multiple times.

Shingles diagnosis and treatment at Family First Urgent Care

As a non-life threatening condition that commonly occurs in children, shingles is just the kind of condition that urgent care centers are made for. Instead of having to make an appointment, or show up unannounced and face long wait times with your child, Family First Urgent Care allows you to get in quickly to see a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. That means your child can be seen, diagnosed and treated sooner.

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