Print, Share, or View Spanish version of this article
(Please see the related Vaccine Information
Statement, The Chickenpox Vaccine: What You Need to Know)
Chickenpox can be itchy and uncomfortable for
your child. It was one of the most common childhood illnesses before the
chickenpox vaccine was recommended routinely for infants. Anyone who
hasn't received the vaccine can get chickenpox if exposed, but it occurs
most often in children 9 to 11 years of age. It's also called
The most obvious sign of chickenpox is a very
itchy rash with tiny bumps, blisters, and scabbed-over areas all at the same
time. Often symptoms are mild. In some cases, symptoms can be severe, especially
for newborns, teens, and adults. This is why the chickenpox vaccine is
important. It's one way you can protect your child from getting
chickenpox. Read more to learn about chickenpox and the chickenpox vaccine.
First, a rash of tiny blisters develops on your
child's scalp and body. Over 3 to 4 days this rash spreads to the face,
arms, and legs. Your child may have between 250 to 500 small, itchy blisters or
just a few. After 2 to 4 days, the first blisters usually dry up. Then they scab
over and finally heal. At any one time, children will have part of the rash that
is tiny bumps, part that is tiny blisters, and part that is scabbed over and
dried up. Tiny sores and scars may develop. If your child scratches the
blisters, they can become infected.
Your child also may have a fever and other
Loss of appetite
Chickenpox is very contagious. It's only
spread from humans. After your child is exposed to the virus that causes
chickenpox, it will take 10 to 21 days before symptoms appear. Your child is
contagious 1 to 2 days before the rash starts and for up to 5 days after the
rash appears. Your child will have to stay home from child care or school until
she is no longer contagious.
The chickenpox virus may be spread
Through the air when an infected person
coughs or sneezes
By direct contact with the fluid from
broken blisters of an infected person
By direct contact with sores from a
person with shingles
Children and adults have a very high
risk of getting chickenpox if they have never had the disease or
received chickenpox vaccine and someone at home or school has
Acyclovir can help make the symptoms of
chickenpox less severe if taken within 24 hours after the start of the rash.
Most children don't need this medicine, though. Your pediatrician may
prescribe it or a related medicine if your child has eczema or asthma, has a
weakened immune system, or is a teen.
The following are things you can do at home:
Remind your child not to
scratch. If your child scratches the blisters before they are
able to heal, they can become infected, can turn into small sores, and
may leave scars.
Trim your child's
nails. You can help prevent other infections by keeping your
child's fingernails trimmed.
Relieve the itch. An
oatmeal bath may help ease the itch. Oatmeal baths are available without
Reduce a fever.
Never give aspirin or other salicylates (medicines used
to reduce pain or fever) to your child unless your pediatrician says
it's OK. Aspirin has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious
illness that involves the liver and brain, especially when given to
children with chickenpox or the flu (influenza). Acetaminophen or
ibuprofen may help reduce your child's fever. Call your
pediatrician if your child's fever lasts longer than 4 days or
rises above 102°F or 39°C after the third day of having
chickenpox, or if your child becomes dehydrated. Let your pediatrician
know if the rash gets very red, warm, or tender. Your child may have an
infection that needs other treatment.
Most healthy children who get chickenpox
won't have any problems. Before the vaccine was available, each year in
the United States about 10,500 to 13,500 people were hospitalized for chickenpox
and about 100 to 150 people died from the disease.
The most common problem from chickenpox is a
bacterial infection of the skin. Two other problems are pneumonia and
encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain). The following groups are at higher
risk of developing these problems:
People who have weak immune systems and
get sick easily
Infants younger than 1 year
Teens and adults
Newborns whose mothers had chickenpox
around the time of delivery
Premature infants whose mothers have not
Children with eczema and other skin
Children taking salicylates
When adults get chickenpox, the disease is
usually more severe. For example,
Adults often develop pneumonia.
Adults are almost 10 times more likely
to be hospitalized than children younger than 14 years.
Adults are more than 20 times more
likely to die from chickenpox.
If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox, her
unborn baby may have problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 2
doses of the chickenpox vaccine for all healthy children who have not had
chickenpox. The first dose should be given between 12 to 15 months of age. The
second dose should be given between 4 to 6 years of age but may be given earlier
if given at least 28 days after the first dose.
During your child's well-child visits,
your pediatrician will let you know if your child needs the chickenpox vaccine.
Ask your pediatrician about when your child should get the vaccine if your child
hasn't received it by 15 months of age. People 13 years of age and older
who have never received the chickenpox vaccine or had the chickenpox also should
get 2 doses at least 28 days apart.
The chickenpox vaccine may be given to your
child at the same time as other vaccines.
Most children who get the chickenpox vaccine
don't get chickenpox. If a vaccinated child does get it, the symptoms are
generally much milder (for example, fewer sores and a low fever or no fever). In
fact, the disease may be so mild that the sores look like insect bites. Also, a
vaccinated child may get well faster.
Aside from the health benefits, vaccinating your
child could save you time and money. In general, a child with chickenpox may
need to miss up to 9 days of school; parents may need to miss work to care for
Yes. Many studies show the chickenpox vaccine is
safe and effective. Because the chickenpox vaccine was licensed in 1995,
millions of doses of vaccine have been given to children in the United
In general, side effects from the chickenpox
vaccine are mild and include
Redness, soreness, or swelling where the
shot was given
A few children develop a rash at the spot where
the shot was given or on other parts of the body. This can occur up to 1 month
after the shot and can last for several days.
Although the chickenpox vaccine is safe for
healthy children, it's not safe for the following people:
Children with weakened immune
Children with severe allergies to
gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
If you are concerned, ask your pediatrician if
the chickenpox vaccine is safe for your child.
Once someone has had chickenpox, the virus stays
in the body of the infected person forever. About 10% to 20% of
all people who have had chickenpox develop shingles. Clusters of blister-like
sores develop and last for 2 to 3 weeks. People with shingles usually feel
numbness and itching or severe pain. Anyone can get shingles, but it usually
occurs in adults older than 50 years. A new vaccine to prevent shingles has just
become available for people 60 years of age or older.
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
If you think that you are having a medical emergency,
call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!
And when in doubt, call your doctor NOW
or go to the closest emergency department.
By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither RemedyConnect nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any express or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.
RemedyConnect, Inc. has created this privacy statement in order to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website: http://www.remedyconnect.com.
Acquisition of Information through PMD
We do not acquire any more information about website visitors than is required by law or is otherwise necessary to provide a high level of service efficiently and securely. Our site's registration form requires users to give us contact information (e.g., their name and e-mail address) and demographic information (e.g., children's birth months, but not birth dates). We use customer contact information from the registration form to (1) send the user pertinent medical and parenting information and (2) allow your local health provider lists of who is registering on that provider's site as a parent/guardian, staff member, doctor, or visitor. Users may opt-out of receiving future mailings; see the choice/opt-out section below.
We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our Website. Your IP address is used to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information.
Demographic and profile data is also collected at our site. We may use this data to tailor the visitor's experience at our site, showing them content that we think they might be interested in, and displaying the content according to their preferences.
Our site may use order forms to allow users to request information, products, and services.
Your Doctor's Right to Privacy
We will respect your doctor's right to privacy. A doctor typically does not give his/her e-mail address to the parents/guardians of patients. We will not provide the e-mail addresses of doctor(s) in the local practice to users of their site without the doctor(s)' permission. Their site is restricted to use by whomever they wish, and they may deny access to their site to one or more prior users. In unusual cases, doctors may change their private site's access code and arrange for us to e-mail the new access code to approved users.
This site contains links to other sites. RemedyConnect.com is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Websites. See Disclaimers.
Disclosure to Third Parties
We will provide individually-identifiable information about website users to third parties only if we are compelled to do so by order of a duly-empowered governmental authority, we have the express permission of the visitor, or it is necessary to process transactions and provide you services from our affiliates: Live Agent Answering Service, Digital Answering Service, Medical Answering Service and Pediatric Answering Service.
Privacy and Our Business Partners
This site may make chat rooms, forums, message boards, and/or news groups available to its users. Please remember that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information.
This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. For further information regarding our security, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any concerns regarding the security of information, please do not provide any information to RemedyConnect, Inc. until you are comfortable with our security measures.
You may correct or update your User Registration information at any time, by visiting the User Registration section and providing your personal password that you set at registration. If need be, please email us at email@example.com.
Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving e-mail communications from our partners or us, except communications approved by your doctor's practice office. To so opt-out, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be removed as a user, please email us at the same address. If need be, you may mail requests to us at RemedyConnect, Inc., 9200 E. Mineral Avenue, Suite 100, Centennial, CO 80112. Our telephone number is 303-793-0703.
Contacting the Website
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Website, you can contact us by email at email@example.com or by mail at our address above.