What is it?
Varicella (chickenpox) is a viral disease that causes an itchy skin rash (with blisters) and fever. Varicella can be severe and lead to pneumonia, meningitis (swelling of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), and serious skin infections. It is spread by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with fluid from the blisters caused by the disease. Exposure to chickenpox during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy may cause serious abnormalities in the fetus if the mother is not immune. If the mother is infected from five days before to two days after delivery, it can result in an overwhelming infection in the newborn with a death rate of 30%.
What can I do?
Two doses of varicella vaccine are recommended for children – the first at one year, and the second at 4 to 6 years (before kindergarten).
Is it safe?
Yes, the varicella vaccine is safe. Severe allergic reactions are rare.
|* - Your child should get the vaccine at this age or age range. If he misses a dose, get it as soon as possible.|