Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a childhood disease that is fairly common. When a child is affected with chickenpox, in most cases, the symptoms are mild and treatable. However, chickenpox can be very serious for infants as well as adults who are affected.

Chickenpox has been well known for the itchiness as well as a rash, fever, and the feeling of being tired. If left untreated, it can cause a severe skin infection, pneumonia, brain damage, scars, and even death. Chickenpox is highly contagious by air or contact of fluid from a chickenpox blister. Shingles, a painful rash, can develop later on in life in someone who has had chickenpox.

Varicella Vaccines

11,000 people were hospitalized each year with chickenpox in the United States before the vaccine existed. In addition, each year 100 people in the United States alone died as a result of the chickenpox.

Of those who accept the chickenpox vaccine, most do not contract chickenpox. If someone who had the vaccine got the chickenpox, their symptoms are not as severe as those without the vaccine. There are fewer blisters, lower fevers, and the recovery time is much faster.

Risks for Chickenpox Vaccine

As with any vaccine, there are risks with the chickenpox vaccine. Mild risks include soreness or swelling around the injection site, fever, mild rash that can last around thirty days after the injection, seizures that is caused by fever, pneumonia, low blood count, as well as a severe brain reaction.

If you have not been vaccinated and have never contracted chickenpox, you will need one to two doses of the chickenpox vaccine. Your provider can advise you on how often these injections should to be administered.

Is The Vaccine Right For You?

The vaccine is not for everyone. If you have had a severe life-threatening reaction to a previous vaccine for chickenpox or if you have had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin, or if you are allergic to gelatin.

Do not get vaccinated if you are ill at the time of the appointment. It’s important to wait until your illness is over before rescheduling your appointment.

If you are pregnant, you should not receive the vaccine until thirty days after the baby is born. Talk to your doctor if you are nursing.

If you have a weak immune system due to HIV/AIDS, cancer, or because you are taking medications such as steroids or receiving radiation treatment you may not want to get the chickenpox vaccine. If you have had a blood transfusion or you were given another type of blood products, you may want to talk to your doctor before getting the chickenpox vaccine.


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