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<p>I am 30 weeks pregnant.  My 12-year-old niece has mono, and also got a small clump of something on her back, which was diagnosed today as shingles.  I had chicken pox when I was about 3 years old, so in theory I should have immunity to shingles/chicken pox and my baby should be protected, right?  We are planning to have Christmas Day out at my sister's house and I am now wondering if this is risky, or if it is a non-issue?  I have a 7-year-old son who would probably be in even more contact with my niece than I would, and he is not vaccinated so could possibly contract the virus and I want to make sure I am not putting my unborn baby at risk by being around the germs.  The kids always like to help with food preparation and not all the adults are vigilant about hand-washing, etc so I'm concerned about germs spreading easily.  She spent the night at our house a few days ago so I may have been exposed to the germs already anyway.  I don't want to spoil Christmas by cancelling, but I also want to keep my baby safe. </p>
<p>Any thoughts?</p>
 

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<p>I just read some info saying that you cannot catch shingles from someone with shingles because shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox virus, however you can catch chicken pox from someone with shingles.  If you have not had chicken pox before then you could easily get chicken pox from the person with a shingles infection.  If you have had chicken pox you are unlikely to catch it again.  Someone who has shingles while pregnant is at great risk of passing it onto their unborn baby, and developing complications themselves.  Putting two and two together, wouldn't all this mean that if you have already had chicken pox and are exposed to someone with shingles, then you shouldn't get chicken pox but you will likely get shingles because the chicken pox virus that lays dormant in your system will be reactivated, therefore putting your baby at risk?  Hope that's not too confusing... I'm just trying to figure this all out. :(</p>
 

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<p>The immunological issues here are completely beyond me.  I understand your concerns and I would be worried too, but I have no way of evaluating those at the moment.  I would think, though, that it would be kind to keep Christmas visits with a person suffering from mono and shingles pretty short.  The combination of exhaustion from the mono and pain from the shingles seems likely to make dealing with a large family celebration extremely difficult.  If I had a 7yo, I would limit contact out of consideration for those issues even if I wasn't worried about the risks of exposure.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I understand your concern about not wanting to spoil Christmas.  If the travel distance isn't too far, maybe you could talk to your sister about adjusting plans.  You could do a 30-60 minute visit to exchange presents and say Happy Holidays, and mostly celebrate elsewhere. </p>
 

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<p>When is the contagious period? Isn't it until the lesions crust up?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Maybe I'm being a germaphobe, but why is there a party with sick people in the first place? I would absolutely not go. (Again, I am kinda a germaphobe) I would say something like "We can get together when DNs feeling better"</p>
 

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<p>You can't catch shingles from somebody who has it. However, your son could catch chicken pox from her, which would expose you to the risk of getting shingles off of him a couple of weeks hence. That said, it's spread by contact. If your niece is going to stay out of the kitchen (which is probably prudent since she's sick) and you can keep your son from contact with her rash or anything that's touched it (clothes, etc), you'd probably be okay. If you don't think your son will keep his hands to himself, celebrate Christmas on Skype.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/chickenpox/fact_sheet.htm" target="_blank">http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/chickenpox/fact_sheet.htm</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/shingles/fact_sheet.htm" target="_blank">http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/shingles/fact_sheet.htm</a></p>
 

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<p>I have always been told that if you had a severe case of chicken pox you *shouldn't* get shingles.  That being said, my husband got shingles while I was pregnant and his GP was worried that I was pregnant (I had very severe chicken pox as a child).  I wasn't supposed to come in contact with the affected area and he had to keep it covered.   His shingles always show up on his forehead and he wouldn't even sleep in bed with me when he broke out during the pregnancy. My MW wasn't as concerned but definately didn't want me touching it.  I would not go just in case, but I tend to be overly cautious while pregnant. </p>
 

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<p>I could be totally wrong, but I thought the shingles was a re-emergence of the dormant varicella virus. So in my understanding, the OP (pregnancy aside) would actually be better served to be exposed so that she <em>doesn't</em> develop shingles later in life. I thought that the process of contracting the virus as a child and then being exposed to it again as a parent was the ideal process for gaining immunity. It seem that parents usually don't come down with a major illness - DH's father, for example, found a single pox and no other symptoms. My own parents noticed nothing when I was poxy, but were surely exposed. (Sorry, I am amused by that word).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Of course, that's just theoretical and not meant to be advice for the OP's particular situation.</p>
 
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