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BabyMD3
BabyMD3, Board Certified Pediatrician
Category: Paediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 41
Experience:  Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Paediatrics

My grandson is two he has just developed chicken pox can I

catch shingles from him if... Show More
catch shingles from him if I visit?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Paediatrics
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replied 3 years ago.

BabyMD3 :

Hello. I would like to help you with your problem.

BabyMD3 :

Shingles actually comes from having chicken pox yourself before. What happens is the virus that causes chicken pox remains dormant in your nervous system so that even years later especially if there is a stressful event or illness the virus wakes up again and travels down the nerves and activates on the skin zone controlled by that nerve. That is why it typically occurs in a strip or a very localized area. If you have never had chicken pox before and are exposed to your grandchild, you would actually develop chicken pox (not shingles) unless you have been vaccinated for it or have immunity against it. Most people that have had chicken pox or the vaccine don't get it again or if they do, it is a very mild case (nothing is 100% protective).

BabyMD3 :

The best thing to do at this point is to wait until all of his lesions have crusted over completely and he is no longer contagious before you go to visit him if you are unsure of your immunity status to the chicken pox virus (i.e., you don't remember if you had it as a child or had the vaccine and it is still working). The immunity to the virus is typically a little bit better and lasts longer than if you have the chicken pox infection versus the vaccine. Either way does give you some protection but if you are not sure, it is best to wait to visit if you can as the chicken pox infection is more severe the older you are when you get it for the first time (it also tends to be a bit worse in males than females).

BabyMD3 :

I hope that I have answered your question to your satisfaction. Please feel free to ask me any follow up questions that you may have. I will keep my computer on for a while to assist you further if you need me.....

Customer:

I have had chicken pox many years ago as a child, however my health centre is offering a shingles vaccination should I now have it I have an auto immune illness candidiasis which is compromising my health at the moment and am very prone to allergies ie joint swellings severe rashes very low energy etc.

BabyMD3 :

Ok. That information helps a lot. I would recommend the shingles vaccine as long as there are no contraindications for you. (Although it doesn't sound like there are any, you would have to discuss this with your GP just be sure). Again, there isn't a risk of getting shingles from your grandson just chicken pox but since you've had the illness as a child you should be immune (but in light of your autoimmune disorder just double check with your Dr regarding how well your immune system is currently functioning as that is more of a concern right now than anything else). There are blood tests that can evaluate for varicella antibody titers (levels of the antibody that are protective against chicken pox) but honestly the results take a few days so that by the time you get the results your grandson will likely no longer be contagious. Try giving your GP a quick call just to ask about the state your immune system (based on the Candidiasis and autoimmune disorder) to get an idea of how well it is functioning. If there is any question at all, don't go visit. The issue with chicken pox isn't just the skin lesions. The problem occurs when it spreads beyond that and secondary bacterial infections occur like pneumonia, severe skin infections and brain inflammation that can be very severe. If there is any chance that your immune system is compromised in any way, I would NOT recommend going to visit until your grandson is no longer contagious as a complicated case of chicken pox (albeit rare) can actually be fatal in the worst case scenario. If we can avoid that possibility, we should....

BabyMD3 :

In summary, if there is ANY chance that your immune system is not functioning properly, please do NOT go visit your grandson until he is no longer contagious. I hope that I have answered your question fully. Please let me know if you have more questions or I can assist you further...

Customer:

Thankyou so much for your kind reply - I have emailed my dr. and am awaiting his reply - he will be in his practice on Monday until then I will not go for a visit I take it 7 to 10 days is a safe time to go visit - he was diagnosed 13th yesterday could you advise about this.

BabyMD3 : You are very welcome. That time frame is about right. You want to be sure that all of his skin lesions are crusted completely over before you go to visit. I hope he feels better soon! Let me know what your Dr says please! Have a great weekend!
Customer:

Thankyou so much again - I have found your answers so helpful and would definitely use your service again - of course I will let you know how I get on with my practitioner. Weekend has been good so far we have sun today in the UK ! so much rain this year which has been very difficult as I have just retired back here after 26 years overseas the last posting being in Kuwait for 17 years miss it so much, but you cannot buy properties there so no choice at the moment but to return back here which for us is so different now!

BabyMD3 :

Have you had a chance to talk with your Dr? How is your grandson?

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