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The Chickenpox Vaccine


Chickenpox (varicella) is one of the most contagious viruses out there, and it is common in children. Chickenpox used to be thought of as a childhood rite of passage for a lot of families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chickenpox used to affect 4 million people annually. However, over 10,000 people were hospitalized each year, and anywhere from 100 to 150 patients died as a result of the chickenpox virus.

This is why parents are urged to get their kids vaccinated. The CDC states that if children undergo this treatment, the vaccine is 90 percent effective at keeping the chickenpox at bay.

About chickenpox

Chickenpox is very contagious - and, once a child is infected, the symptoms of the disease can be very uncomfortable. The CDC says that 250 to 500 blisters can cover the entire body, and children can also suffer flu-like side effects like headache, fatigue and fever.

Most unvaccinated children will recover from these symptoms in around one week. However, some cases can get serious, especially in babies and toddlers, or in children with compromised immune systems.

a woman consulting a doctorThe benefits of chickenpox vaccination outweigh the risks.

Getting your kids vaccinated

The CDC advises parents to get two doses of the vaccine - one between 12 and 15 months, and then another between the ages of 4 and 6 years old. It's important to know that while the vaccine is very effective for most children, there is still a small chance that your child will get sick. However, his or her symptoms will be milder.

"We most often see outbreaks of chickenpox in school-aged kids, so getting the second dose at age 4 through 6 years will protect kids from chickenpox before they are most likely to catch it," Dr. Meg Fisher of the American Academy of Pediatrics, explained to the CDC.

The benefits of getting your kids vaccinated definitely outweigh the risks. Not only will you prevent possible hospitalizations, you will also prevent missed days from school and protect your community. Side effects of the chickenpox vaccine are mild. Your child might feel some soreness at the injection site, and 1 out of 25 children may experience a mild fever and/or rash.

Be sure to discuss the chickenpox vaccine with your pediatrician and see what your options are. This is one of the most effective steps you can take to keep your children and community as healthy as possible.  

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