PEDIATRIC ADVISOR: CHICKEN POX VACCINE /VARICELLA/
Your child has just been given an immunization to protect him/her against a common childhood disease called chicken pox or varicella. The most common side effect is soreness or swelling where the shot was given. If swelling occurs, apply a cool cloth: 2-3 times a day. A fever may also occur 1-2 days after the vacination. There is a small possibility that within 10-21 days after the vaccination several small bumps /rash/ may develop. If the rash develops it is possible to infect others who have not had chickenpox.
What is varicella?
Chicken pox (Varicella) is a disease caused by the varicella virus. It is a very contagious disease that affects almost all people. Although it is a mild disease, chicken pox can be severe. Common problems caused by the disease include: secondary bacterial infections, dehydration, scarring, pneumonia, brain involvement (encephalitis). Chicken pox usually begins with a mild fever for one to two days prior to the development of the rash. The chicken pox rash usually begins on the trunk and scalp. Over the next three to four days, the rash will spread to the face, arms, and legs. On average, the rash will consist of 250 to 500 itchy blisters, which will turn into scabs over the next three to four days. A child is contagious from one to two days before the rash starts until five to seven days after the rash appears (i.e. until all the blisters become scabs). Therefore, your child must stay at home until he/she is no longer contagious (up to 10 days). The disease may develope about 10-21 days after exposure. The vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent disease and reduce complications. Japan was among the first countries to routinely vaccinate for chickenpox. Routine vaccination against varicella zoster virus is also performed in the United States and the incidence of chickenpox has been dramatically reduced there. In Europe most countries do not currently vaccinate against varicella, though the vaccine is gaining wider acceptance.
The reasons to vaccinate include:
Reducing the complications of chicken pox (secondary bacterial infections, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, death)
Reducing the number of days of school missed (a child will miss an average of 6-8 days of school if the get chicken pox)
Who should get the vaccine and when:
The vaccine should be given at 15 months of age or at any age after that if your child has not had chicken pox. Your child will need TWO shots for protection.
In Czech republic is available vaccine VARILRIX and compound vaccine PRIORIX-TETRA
Varilrix /against chicken pox/ and PRIORIX TETRA against measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox.
People with food allergy to eggs or with febrile seizures should ask their doctor whether the vaccination is safe for them.