Information on Chicken Pox
Varicella (also called chickenpox) is a common childhood disease. It is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in young infants, adolescents, adults, and persons with immune deficiencies.
The varicella virus can be spread from person to person through the air, or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters.
It causes a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness.
It can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death.
A person who has had chickenpox can get a painful rash called shingles years later.
Contraindication to Vaccination
People should not get the vaccine if they have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine or one of its components (gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin).
Pregnant women should wait to get varicella vaccine until after they have given birth. Women should not get pregnant for at least 1 month after getting the varicella vaccine.
Patients that are immunesuppressed should be assessed to see if they have any contraindications to getting the live vaccine.
Most people who get the varicella vaccine will not get chickenpox. But if someone who has been vaccinated does get chickenpox, it is usually very mild.
- It is also possible to get a few blisters at the site of injection with no generalized symptoms.
- The risk of varicella vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
- Getting the varicella vaccine is much safer than getting the chickenpox disease.
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Mild rash, up to a month after vaccination. It is possible for these people to infect other members of their household, but this is extremely rare.
- Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever
- Pneumonia (very rare)
Children should get 1 dose of varicella vaccine between 12 and 18 months of age, or at any age after that if they have never had chickenpox.
People who do not get the vaccine until 13 years of age or older should get 2 doses, 4-8 weeks apart.
Varicella vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines such as MMR.