ZocdocAnswersHow long is a mother contagious that has shingles to her infant?

Question

How long is a mother contagious that has shingles to her infant?

I am 34 yrs old. & have been diagnosed with shiongles. i have it on my left eye and forehead and hair. I do not have a severe case and have been on medication. However, I have a 7 month old and he just pooped up with a few bumps on his ear and face. We took him to the pediatrician and they just said it may be achicken pox and there's nothing really to do. But if he does have it is he contagious? and how could he get it from me if he didn't touch my face? also am i going to make it worse by continuing to be around him?

Answer

This is a question you should discuss with your primary care doctor. Shingles, as you probably know, is caused by the same virus (the varicella virus) that causes chicken pox. Shingles is actually a reactivation of the chicken pox virus in an older person, as the virus never completely leaves the body after a case of chicken pox in childhood. Both the chicken pox and the shingles sores are contagious because the virus is found in high concentrations in the crusty secretions from the sores. The sores are no longer contagious when they are completely dry. Using good hand hygiene and avoiding contact with the sore areas is the best way to prevent spread. It will also be important to follow this closely both with your pediatrician and also with the doctor who is treating your case of shingles. Chicken pox, although formerly a common childhood infection, is less common now with vaccination. Sometimes, cases of chicken pox can be quite serious, and therefore keeping a close eye on your child and getting regular advice from your pediatrician as this case progresses is the best way to ensure that things turn out ok. Your regular doctors can examine the sores and help determine whether they are still contagious and whether you need to take any precautions to prevent spread. Please discuss with them soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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