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Health Information For Parents
The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox (varicella), a common and very contagious childhood viral illness.
The varicella vaccine is given as a shot when kids are between 12 and 15 months old. They get a booster shot for further protection at 4 to 6 years of age.
Kids who are older than 6 but younger than 13 who have not had chickenpox also may get the vaccine, with the 2 doses given 3 months apart.
Kids 13 years or older who have not had either chickenpox or the vaccine need 2 vaccine doses 1 to 2 months apart.
Sometimes the chickenpox vaccine is given in combination with the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella, in a vaccine called MMRV. Kids up to 13 years old can get this vaccine.
The chickenpox vaccine prevents severe illness in almost all kids who get it. It’s up to 85% effective in preventing mild illness. Vaccinated kids who do get chickenpox generally have a mild case.
Possible mild effects are tenderness and redness where the shot was given, fever, tiredness, and a varicella-like illness. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.
A rash can happen up to 1 month after the injection. It may last for several days but will disappear on its own without treatment. There is a very small risk of febrile seizures after vaccination.
The varicella vaccine is not recommended if your child:
Talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is a good idea if your child:
Your doctor may decide that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.
Pregnant women should not get the chickenpox vaccine until after they give birth.
Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the right dose.
Call your doctor if:
This is the medical name for the virus that causes chicken pox, which is known for its red, itchy bumps.
Chickenpox can make you itch like crazy. Find out why in this article for kids.
Chickenpox (varicella) has become less common in the U.S. due to the chickenpox vaccine, but it can easily spread from one person to another.
If you’re old enough to read this, you’ve probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.
Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little “ouch” moment protects you from some major health problems.
Shingles isn’t very common in kids – it mostly affects older people. Find out what causes shingles, symptoms to watch for, and what to do if your child has it.
Chickenpox used to be common in kids, causing a very itchy red rash all over the body. But the good news is that a vaccine can prevent most cases.
Chickenpox is a virus that causes red, itchy bumps. Find out more in this article for kids.
Which vaccines does your child need and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.
Immunizations protect kids from many dangerous diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.
Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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