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A common virus that most often strikes children who are under the age of fifteen, chickenpox is caused by a virus that is known as the varicella virus.  What is most notable about chickenpox is the speed with which it spreads between children and it is this contagious quality that makes children more likely to become infected by the varicella virus as a result of contact with other infected children at school.  Although this disease most often is found in children it does, on occasion, infect adults.  The reason that it is most often found amongst children is that generally once one has had chickenpox the varicella virus never entirely leaves the body



Chickenpox is symptomatic as itchy skin rashes that is very often accompanied by a fever and possibly also a headache.  The rash is best described as a sort of blister that will in some cases scar if interfered with and the skin rash in most cases appears on the face including the scalp as well as on the trunk of the body.  The symptoms for the most part is a relatively mild disease that will last in most cases more than five days and less than ten days, though on occasion it can become a more serious medical condition requiring further attention from a licensed health care professional.  As the varicella in most cases never leaves the body, it can, in later years, cause the development of shingles in adults.

Chickenpox Vaccine

One of the most important preventative measures that can be taken to avoid a chickenpox infection is the varicalla vaccine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, as with all other vaccines used to treat viruses, no vaccine guarantees that the disease will never occur.  Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent puts the effectiveness of the vaccine against chickenpox at being ninety-percent effective, meaning that of ten people who receive the vaccine, nine will never develop chickenpox.

At best the varicella vaccine can make it so that the vaccinated individual is unable to become infected by chickenpox.  At worst the vaccine can make it so that if the child or perhaps even the adult, should they develop a chickenpox infection, will experience a less troublesome version of the disease.  Those vaccinated individuals who develop chickenpox will experience a mild version that is characterized by very few pox sores that are less like blisters and are more akin to insect bites.  It should be mentioned, however, that even though this manifestation of the chickenpox disease is less severe that it is nonetheless still a very contagious disease and any necessary precautions as with a standard experience of chickenpox should still be followed.

Presently, according to the Mayo Clinic, chickenpox is a routine vaccination in the United States for immunization treatments that normally occur in childhood.  The first dose of the vaccine is received by a child between the ages of one year and fifteen months.  The second dose of the chickenpox vaccine is given between four and six years of age.  Although the vaccine is given to children, it is on occasion given to adults, particularly when the adult in question has not received the second dose of the vaccine or if the adult in question both has never been vaccinated and has never experienced the disease up until that point.

It should be noted that the vaccine for chickenpox, known by the trade name Varivax, is not approved for use in pregnant women or in those who have a weakened immune system for any reason or for those who have allergies to either gelatin or if they are allergic to neomycin, an antibiotic.  As always, it is important to consult a physician should there be any questions regarding this vaccine.  However, this vaccine has been administered to many, many people and has been proven to be both safe for use and effective when properly administered.

As with some vaccines there may be side effects to taking a vaccine.  For those who receive the vaccine for chickenpox the side effects that they may experience can include some mild redness, soreness or swelling and on some rare occasions a series of small bumps that occur near the site of the shot where the vaccine has been administered.


Although one must generally allow the varicella virus to run its course it is important to be careful what exact medications are given to those who have the disease.  It is cautioned against giving anyone with chickenpox the product aspirin as the combination of this drug and chickenpox can possibly result in what is known as Reye Syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, it is important to inform your family physician or other doctor should the child in question who is believed to have contracted chickenpox experience any of the following complications: a rash that spreads to either or both eyes, if the rash becomes quite red, warm or tender to the touch which may indicate a bacterial infection of the skin in addition to the chickenpox, finally one should also inform the physician if the characteristic chickenpox rash has symptoms that also include dizziness, some form of disorientation, increased heartbeat, difficulty breathing, tremors of any sort, a lack of coordination, a cough that worsens over time, nausea leading to vomiting, stiffness in the neck or if a fever is present that exceed one hundred and three degrees Fahrenheit. 

One finally complication that may occur in those who have contracted chickenpox is that later in life they may be at risk of a disease known as shingles.  This can occur as a result of the varicella zoster virus remaining in nerve cells that can manifest itself years after the disease.  Shingles is most likely to occur in individuals who not only have contracted chickenpox in the past but also those who are for whatever medical reason or otherwise experiencing a compromised immune system.  As always, should you believe that you are experiencing a case of shingles it is recommended that you contact a physician in order to receive competent medical advice.