Chickenpox is one of the most common diseases among children – particularly among those under age 12. Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, chickenpox is a highly contagious illness that appears as itchy rashes that look like blisters all over the body and is accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
The best preventative measure to protect your child from chickenpox is through vaccination. Parents should vaccinate their children at an early age to prevent infection. First, what exactly are the symptoms of chickenpox and how does someone get infected?
What are the symptoms of chickenpox?
The first symptoms of chickenpox usually develop about 14 to 16 days after contact with a person infected with the virus. Most people experience a fever, decreased appetite, headache, cough, and sore throat. These symptoms may last for a few days, with a fever in the range of 101°-102°F.
The itchy rashes usually appear about 1 to 2 days after the first symptoms start. They begin as multiple small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites. They appear in crops over 2 to 4 days and develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. The blisters eventually break, leaving open sores that heal and leave brown scabs. New red spots will appear every day for up to 5 to 7 days.
How do you get chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a contagious disease that easily spreads. Young children can get it from an infected person who sneezes, coughs, or shares food or drinks. They can also get it if they touch the fluid from a chickenpox blister. Early prevention through vaccination is key to avoiding symptoms.
Why should I vaccinate my child?
The chickenpox vaccine is the best way to protect your child from chickenpox. When your child gets vaccinated, you are also protecting others in your community from getting infected. This is especially important for people who cannot get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.
Doctors recommend that children receive the chickenpox vaccine twice – when they’re 12 to 15 months old, with a booster shot at 4 to 6 years old. Children 13 years of age or older who have never had chickenpox should get two doses at least 28 days apart.
What are the side effects of the chickenpox vaccine?
With all medicines there are potential side effects. However, the side effects associated with the varicella vaccine are generally mild. The most common side effects include:
- Mild Pain
- Redness or swelling at the injection site.
- A mild rash, usually around the spot where the shot was given.
Severe side effects are very rare.
Even though the illness can clear up on its own in most children, it still means 5 to 10 days of being uncomfortable – itchy rashes, headaches, fevers, blisters. It also means putting others at risk of infection.
Good preventative healthcare for your child starts from birth. Dr. Selsky and Family First Pediatrics offer Orlando a wide variety of vaccinations including the varicella vaccine. Schedule an appointment online or call Family First Pediatrics at 407-335-4760 to discuss the benefits of vaccinations today.