is it safe to be around someone with Shingles? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In August we moved from NY to NC.  Shortly after, my grandmother's health took a bad turn.  She will probably never go home from the hospital again.

 

In 2 weeks we have a trip scheduled to visit.  

 

I found out today that she has come down with a case of Shingles while in the hospital.  

 

Is it safe for me to visit her?

 

This may be my last chance to ever see her.  And DS's last chance too.  I don't want to skip it just to be super careful.  I want to know if there is really any danger.

 

I had chicken pox 20 years ago, when I was 10.  


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#2 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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The short answer is if you are immune then you do not need to stay away.  If you want to be certain about your immunity, have your doctor or midwife run a titer.  If you are going to a nursing home or long term acute care facility, just remember that there are several infectious agents you could be exposed to, including MRSA, and that proper handwashing techniques are essential to stay healthy. 


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#3 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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First of all hugs to you. I am sorry to hear about your grandmother.

 

My mother just recently got over a case of shingles which led me to quickly do some research on the subject since she is our only source of child care. From what I have read, Shingles isn't an airborne virus and it is only spread through direct contact with the actual sores. So, you should be just fine being in the same room visiting with your grandmother. You could always double check with your Dr. to be safe, but I think it will be ok.

 

Hope this helps


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#4 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering exactly how Grandma got it from her roommate.  (After they were in the same room a few days, the roommate came down with Shingles and they were both moved to private rooms.  That was about a week ago, I think.)  Grandma's are on her torso, below one of her breasts.  

 

I guess I will ask my midwife about it. It is possible she ran titers when she did the other testing.


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#5 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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I did some research on it too when DC was not immunized and, at the time, I didn't want her to get the pox.  From what I read, you should be fine...just don't lick your grandma.  :-)  


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#6 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Yep, I believe it's only shared through saliva or direct contact with sores. Which does make you wonder how she got it... maybe sharing a drink by mistake?


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#7 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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From what I recall, you can't actually catch shingles...you can catch the chicken pox virus.  Shingles is a flare up of the chicken pox virus in a previously exposed person.  Or something like that.  Very interesting and a bit confusing how it all comes together - so I may have info wrong. 


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#8 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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PP is right as far as I understand it-I had exposure to someone with shingles at around my 30 week mark and asked the midwife. There's really not much to worry about you getting it if you already had chicken pox because shingles as such isn't contagious-it's just the chicken pox virus re-activating due to other stresses in the body. Someone with shingles can give someone without previous exposure to chicken pox the chicken pox but that takes direct contact with the shingles sores. Shingles are fairly common in older people  because so many of them have other health issues stressing their systems, not to mention the nursing home/hospital environment provides a lot of emotional stress. As far as I know, your g'ma and her roommate both getting shingles would be a coincidence not a contagion. A titer would tell you for sure about your previous exposure levels.

 

I hope you are able to have a nice visit with your grandmother that you will be able to cherish.

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#9 of 20 Old 11-28-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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As long as you dont come into direct contact with any of the sores you are not at risk. You can hug her and even give her a hello kiss without issue unless the sores are on her face that is.

 
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#10 of 20 Old 11-29-2010, 08:17 AM
 
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My hubby came down with shingles two months ago. We didn't even realize what it was until the blisters had already dried up. He also had a relatively minor case. My research told me the same PP are mentioning: you can caught chicken pox (if not immune) if you are directly exposed to the fluid from the blisters. We had our (nonvaxed) toddler under chicken pox watch for about 3 weeks after my hubby's shingles but he didn't get them. (Both a relief and a pity.)


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#11 of 20 Old 11-29-2010, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been reading tons of stuff about this.

 

I've definitely had chicken pox, and DS definitely hasn't.  So, there is a very tiny chance that DS could get chicken pox.  But now is a very good time to get that over with, since he is 3 and we have nothing important going on in the weeks after our visit, and it would be all done about 3 months before the new baby is born.

 

Also, there is a very tiny chance that in me shingles could be activated.  But that could happen regardless of exposure to Grandma.  It seems to happen a lot to pregnant women.  And it isn't of any risk to the baby, unless I get it within 3 weeks of the birth and she gets exposed during birth.  If I catch it in mid-Dec, it will be long past the contagious stage by then.

 

And Grandma will likely be past the contagious stage by the time I get there.


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#12 of 20 Old 11-29-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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Didn't read all the posts as I am surrounded by hungry children (should probably go get dinner...) But I had shingles when my oldest was about 4-5 months old. My doctor just told me to make sure he didn't touch the shingles as it could give him chicken pox but I wasn't a threat to anyone else as no one else was going to be getting that close to rub the shingles on my back. (Well I suppose except my husband who had already had chicken pox.) I was teaching at the time and that also wasn't an issue so I would think you would be ok particularly if you have already had chicken pox. And I must say my doctor was about ready to heavily drug me upon diagnosis of shingles as it can be very painful but since I got it so young (probably 28?) it barely bothered me, I thought it was just eczema,  so I'm glad that for some reason I ended up with it so young. Not that I'm advocating trying to pick it up of course! Just saying. :)


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#13 of 20 Old 11-30-2010, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jess, I hope you don't get it again.  You can get shingles many times.


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#14 of 20 Old 12-03-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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My mom called me today and told me she had shingles. We're supposed to go to her house in 2 1/2 weeks for a week long stay. I'll be 23 weeks and I've had chicken pox so I'm NOT an issue, right? My kids haven't had it. My oldest has had the one cp vax and my younger two haven't had any vaxes. Would it be an issue for them to get chicken pox while I was pregnant??


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#15 of 20 Old 12-03-2010, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Stacey, it should be fine.  By the time you go, she will likely not be contagious.  Even now, the contagiousness is so low.  And if your kids get CP, you are safe.  The only reasonable danger is if the baby is born really really early, while they are still contagious, and catches it.  

 

And in my case, it doesn't matter anymore.  Grandma died yesterday, and was cremated today.  


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#16 of 20 Old 12-04-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lilya View Post

And in my case, it doesn't matter anymore.  Grandma died yesterday, and was cremated today.  



I'm so sorry to hear this.  Hugs.


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#17 of 20 Old 12-04-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother.


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#18 of 20 Old 08-18-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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I just found out yesterday that my mother in law, who i live with has shingles in her throat.  Because of the fact that the Varicella vaccine is developed using aborted fetus cells (see childrenofGodforlife.com) i haven't had my 18-month-old vaccinated.  I have been trying to find out if we need to temporarily move out for her sake and for my unborn child's sake.  I am only 8 weeks along, and contrary to a post here, if a pregnant women who is in her first trimester or early second trimester gets chicken pox, her baby can be born with birth defects.  Another thing that i have found from doing a little research is that contrary to what a friend told me, it is not in the first 10 days that a person that has shingles that they are most contagious, but in the last stages, when the blisters have burst. 

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#19 of 20 Old 08-21-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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My mom had shingles a year or two ago and she was advised to stay away from pregnant women or young children under 6 until the wounds were totally healed over. I was pregnant at the time and the doctor was very strict about saying that she should miss a baby shower etc. and that it simply wasn't worth the risk, even though I had chicken pox when I was young. I was really upset because I had urged her to get vaccinated after one of our dear friends had a totally debilitating experience with it.

 

I am really sorry for your loss.

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#20 of 20 Old 08-23-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2f52012 View Post

I just found out yesterday that my mother in law, who i live with has shingles in her throat.  Because of the fact that the Varicella vaccine is developed using aborted fetus cells (see childrenofGodforlife.com) i haven't had my 18-month-old vaccinated.  I have been trying to find out if we need to temporarily move out for her sake and for my unborn child's sake.  I am only 8 weeks along, and contrary to a post here, if a pregnant women who is in her first trimester or early second trimester gets chicken pox, her baby can be born with birth defects.  Another thing that i have found from doing a little research is that contrary to what a friend told me, it is not in the first 10 days that a person that has shingles that they are most contagious, but in the last stages, when the blisters have burst. 

I am not an alarmist, but shingles is one of those illnesses that I take really seriously when I am pregnant. For me, it is really important to stay away from shingles when pregnant as the risk of birth defects is real and serious. When my MIL contracted shingles and I was pregnant with DS, (plus I have two unvaxed children who at the time were 3 and 1 1/2) we stayed away, and while it was tough, we as an entire family felt it was for the best. I am sending you lots of postive vibes and hope that you are able to come to a decision that is best for you and your family! Good luck mama!


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