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Q.

My husband currently has shingles, how can I prevent myself and 2 year old from getting it?


Related Topics: Shingles
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Primary Care
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A.
Shingles can occur in many areas of the body. If the outbreak is on his chest, back, abdomen, etc., where it can be easily covered by clothing, the risk of transfer will not be very high. If it is on his face, then more caution against direct skin-to-skin contact should be exercised.

Assuming that he is currently under treatment, usually with an oral anti-viral medication, this will also reduce the chance of spreading it to others.

Your two year old is vulnerable, assuming they had a varicella (chicken pox) vaccination at age one. If not, exposure to shingles can actually give an unimmunized person chicken pox. For you, assuming you had chicken pox as a child (or the vaccine), you are also vulnerable from direct skin-to-skin contact.

Do the best that you can without treating your husband like a leper. Not everyone who is exposed will even get it, but a few simple precautions, like covering the area with clothing, will help.

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A.
My husband had shingles and both my daughters got chicken pox. The incubation period is 14 to 21 days from the time they first are exposed. He had them on his chest, and they did not come in contact with that part of him, but they got them anyway. I think exposure is more than touching the scabs evidently. But the old saying that if you get them once you won't get them again, is only true with chicken pox. If a person is susceptible and exposed and their resistance is low they will get shingles if exposed to them, or if their body won't fight it off. Some people opt for a shot, that I'm not sure of the name of it but if a person gets it within a certain amount of time after the recover from the shingles they are less likely to get them again. But they say it is quite expensive. So just being in the same house and touching things the person with shingles has touched will cause a child to contact the chicken pox, as it is of the same virus.  


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