Symptoms of shingles in children and methods of its treatment

Today we will talk about shingles in children, which manifests itself, most often, after suffering chickenpox. This is a rather dangerous disease and causes not only damage to the skin. There are features of herpes zoster that affect children, especially the course of the disease in various forms and the reasons for its appearance in the child’s body. Below we will consider the causes and symptoms of this disease in children, what a herpetic rash looks like with herpes zoster in different parts of the child’s body, and also consider treatment methods.


Herpes zoster in children occurs under various circumstances. The most significant are the low immune system of the body and infection with the varicella virus. zoster ( varicella zoster ). The source of an infectious disease can be both adults and children over the age of 10 years. Shingles in a child under the age of 10 almost never happens – this is an extremely rare occurrence.

A significant increase in the incidence occurs in the cold season, but, as a rule, these are sporadic (systemic, occasional) cases of the disease. Herpes zoster can occur in a child not only in the cold, but also in the heat.

Transmission routes

The main ways of transmission of an infectious disease:

contact – in close contact with a virus carrier (sick person) of any age, for example, with kisses through salivation, when infected saliva gets on the skin of a child;

household – with the general use of household items or personal hygiene items;

airborne – close contact with an infected person when he sneezes or coughs;

transfusion – intra-arterial or intravenous blood transfusion.

According to the present time, chickenpox is analyzed as an infection in children with low immunity. Herpes zoster arises from a neurogenic wide spread of the virus, which is activated in children with humoral immunity.

Behavior of herpes zoster after infection of a child

After initial infection with the varicella virus zoster , which causes chickenpox, is likely to go into hibernation.

In a latent form, the virus hides in the spinal (spinal ganglion) ganglia, trigeminal nerve, and other clusters of nerve cells with the likelihood of subsequent endogenous reactivation of the virus.

During reactivation, that is, restoration of the viability of infection cells, axonal transport (movement of a nerve cell) of the virus to skin cells is realized. Here the virus continues to multiply further. An inevitable component of the reproductive activation of infection with severe viral inflammation of nerve endings with damage to the trigeminal, spinal and intercostal ganglia.

With shingles in children, first of all, attention is paid to damage to the nervous tissue. A feature of the manifestation of the virus in chickenpox is the defeat of the skin.

As already emphasized, the virus actively penetrates the child’s body during the course of the chickenpox disease in a child. After effective treatment, the activation of viruses is restrained by T-lymphocytes. If their level drops, the virus begins to multiply actively.

Causes of reduced immunity

The reasons for the decrease in T-lymphocytes are some factors that cause the disease with herpes zoster. Let’s consider some of them:

autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, dropsy, type 1 diabetes, etc.);

HIV at different stages of manifestation;

chronic infectious diseases;

ARVI, acute respiratory infections, tonsillitis;

malignant tumors;

hypothermia or overheating;

various injuries.

In newborns, shingles is manifested based on the transmission of the virus by the placental -uterine route or through breast milk while feeding the baby, if the mother had the infection in the third trimester of pregnancy. In such children, herpes zoster may appear in a week. Bubble rash can be localized both on the intercostal region of the child, and on various mucous zones of the body.


In children, the symptoms of shingles do not appear immediately. The development of the infection itself is slow, but rashes in the affected area of the body appear instantly, and then rapidly develop and spread. Before the onset of the acute period of the disease in children, as a rule, shingles is confused with ARVI or acute respiratory infections.

Light form

In this situation, children have symptoms of a mild form of herpes zoster, which have signs:


increase in body temperature;

general malaise;

enlarged lymph nodes;

numbness and tingling, as well as burning and itching in the affected area;

pain along the affected nerves;

seals and the appearance of red papules form in the affected area;

lack of appetite.

Papules, about 0.5 cm in size, tend to be closely located to each other, develop rapidly and travel around, grouped. The clear liquid contained in the papules becomes more cloudy after 2-3 days. With a timely and correct approach to the treatment of shingles in children, after 6-7 days, the sores begin to dry out. In place of the sores, dry erosions form, and then disappear. In some cases, small swellings of regional lymph nodes are fixed.

severe form

A severe form of herpes zoster in a child occurs with the following symptoms:

epidermolysis bullosa – characterized by the formation of blisters and erosions on the mucous membranes and skin;

hemorrhagic fever – an acute disease of viral etiology and the formation of bloody fluid in the vesicles;

gangrenous – leading to the destruction of skin tissues, characterized by the formation of a black scab (dry crust) in place of the vesicles, after which ulcers form.

Herpes zoster has a peculiarity to manifest itself along the nerve zones, especially in the area of the intercostal and trigeminal nerves.

With herpes zoster in children, as a rule, skin areas that are connected with the central nervous system of human organs are most often affected. Sometimes limbs are affected. Most often, the process of the disease is unilateral.


With self-identification in children of specific signs of infection, you should contact your pediatrician. The attending physician, after conducting a visual examination of the child, will send certain tests for laboratory tests. Based on the results obtained, the doctor will make an appropriate diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

An important factor in a quick recovery is the timely treatment of shingles in children. It is advisable to diagnose and start treating herpes zoster in the first days of infection, at the moment when the first symptoms become noticeable. With a mild form of the disease, drug treatment usually lasts about a week.

For home treatment, antiviral drugs are prescribed. Vitamin intramuscular (vitamins B, C, P) and tablet complex. The clinic prescribes physiotherapy – UVI, electrophoresis, sollux.

Let’s take a closer look at drugs for the treatment and prevention of diseases caused by the herpes zoster virus ( Herpes zoster is shingles).


Metisazon tablets. Suppresses reproduction (reproduction) of the smallpox virus, has a beneficial effect in the prevention and treatment of herpes zoster.

Acyclovir – tablets, ointment, cream, powder, lyophilisate . Treatment and prevention of recurrence of herpes zoster infections in the skin and mucous membranes. As a rule, the drug is well tolerated.

Interferon – injections. The drug is used to prevent and treat viral infections. Should be used at the first sign of illness. Significantly reduces the duration of the shingles period.

Famciclovir , Valaciclovir – block the reproduction of the virus. Eases the severity of symptoms. It is possible to reduce the risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia, which often occurs after the course of herpes zoster.

Antiseptics and painkillers

Salicylic acid (antiseptic) – ointment, paste. Means are intended for external use in order to soften and reject the outer layer of the skin. It is applied in a thin layer to the affected areas, rubbed into painful places.

Prozerin (painkiller) – powder, tablets. It is used in the recovery period after suffering shingles. Use in children is possible only according to the recommendation of the attending physician.

Ibuprofen (painkiller) – tablets, capsules, gel, suppositories, suspension, ointments. To relieve moderate pain and febrile syndrome. It is also intended for symptomatic therapy. Indicated for children over 6 years of age. Children under 12 years of age should not be used without consulting a specialist.

Summing up, it is worth recalling that shingles is a disease that is directly related to neurology. If with chickenpox we primarily treat skin symptoms, then the treatment of shingles should be taken more seriously. But still, children, most often, tolerate herpes zoster much easier than adults, and even more so the elderly.

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