Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can I contract the chicken pox from a child who has recently been vaccinated?"
I am a 25 year old mother of two, with a 2 year old and a 5 year old. I have no history of disease or illness. I never had the chicken pox during childhood and was not vaccinated. Should I try to keep a distance from my children after they are vaccinated? Is there a vaccine for someone as old as me? Am I more at risk for shingles?
First, I will say that it is great that you got your kids the Chicken Pox vaccine. This vaccine is made of a live virus which has lost the ability to make one sick. In a few people, the virus causes a minor illness, but never makes people as sick as the Chicken Pox would have. In your case, if you are otherwise healthy, you should not worry about being around your child after the vaccination. What I am worried about is the fact that you have never been vaccinated and you never had the Chicken Pox. This means that you are susceptible to contract the virus from someone that is sick. If you get the virus you will likely have much tougher course than the typical child that gets sick with the Chicken Pox. Shingle is usually a reactivation of a virus being carried by the effected person. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for the purpose of getting the varicella vaccine (Varivax). This is the same thing as the Chicken Pox vaccine, but at a higher dose. This will protect you from the Chicken Pox and Shingles and will help prevent you from getting very sick.
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