17 doctors weighed in:

How can you get shingles and can a child (7) get it?

17 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics
12 doctors agree

In brief: Reactivation

If you had chickenpox (known or not) or the vaccine, the virus eventually hibernates in nerve centers forever. Reactivation of the virus for whatever reason triggers a migration down the nerve to the skin supplied by the nerve(shingles).
Direct contact with shingles debris can pass the virus & cause chickenpox, not shingles, but kids can get shingles just like adults from re-activation.

In brief: Reactivation

If you had chickenpox (known or not) or the vaccine, the virus eventually hibernates in nerve centers forever. Reactivation of the virus for whatever reason triggers a migration down the nerve to the skin supplied by the nerve(shingles).
Direct contact with shingles debris can pass the virus & cause chickenpox, not shingles, but kids can get shingles just like adults from re-activation.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
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David Escobar
Family Medicine
6 doctors agree

In brief: Chicken Pox

You get shingles if you were infected with chicken pox earlier in life and something activates the dormant virus and causes shingles.
The chicken pox virus never goes away completely, it will lie dormant in one's neural cells. Then, later in life, the virus can re-awaken and cause shingles. Children can get shingles, but this is rare. See your doctor about treatment and prevention.

In brief: Chicken Pox

You get shingles if you were infected with chicken pox earlier in life and something activates the dormant virus and causes shingles.
The chicken pox virus never goes away completely, it will lie dormant in one's neural cells. Then, later in life, the virus can re-awaken and cause shingles. Children can get shingles, but this is rare. See your doctor about treatment and prevention.
David Escobar
David Escobar
Answer assisted by David Escobar, Medical Student
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1 comment
Dr. Cindy Juster
A child who hasn't been immunized against chicken pox could get chicken pox from being exposed to someone with shingles. The risk is lower than if they'd been exposed to someone with full chicken pox, but there still is a risk.
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