Shingles and chickenpox


Shingles is a virus that stays in the body long after the infection goes away. If the immune system is not working well, the virus may become active again. 

Shingles usually appears as painful, itchy, rash on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days. Your child may need to be admitted to hospital for treatment.


For children receiving cancer treatment, chickenpox may be more serious because the immune system is not working well. 

If your child gets exposed to chickenpox, call your doctor right away. Exposure to chickenpox means that your child has been around someone with chickenpox. 

My child has not had chickenpox

If your child has not had chickenpox or the vaccine and is exposed, your child may need to get an injection of Varicella Zoster Immune Globulin (ZIG).

Your child must get the injection within 72 hours of the exposure.

Your doctor may also prescribe some medication (eg Acyclovir or Valaciclovir) to prevent or minimise the chance of your child getting chickenpox. 

My child has had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine

If your child has had chickenpox in the past or has received the chickenpox vaccine, they may have antibodies to fight the virus, and may not need to get ZIG.

Ask your doctor if your child is at risk for getting chickenpox.

My child has chickenpox

If your child has symptoms of chickenpox, call the hospital right away.

Do not bring your child or siblings to the clinic if they have been exposed or have chickenpox without discussing with a member of the health care team.

The doctor may order a medicine called Acyclovir or Valacyclovir to be taken by mouth or IV to help control the infection.

Your child may need to be admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment.

Last updated Thursday 7th December 2023