If you have a toddler or school-aged child, then you know that immunizations are important. They help to protect your child from serious diseases and they keep vulnerable individuals from becoming seriously ill. One of the newer vaccines that may be offered to your son or daughter is the chicken pox vaccine. While you may be tempted to skip this vaccine because you feel that chicken pox is not a serious illness, this is not a good idea. Keep reading to understand a few reasons why.
It Prevents Future Shingles Problems
Many children are able to tolerate chicken pox outbreaks fairly well. The ailment, called varicella, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is passed easily from one child to the next. The virus lasts for about two weeks and causes red blisters to appear on the body.
While the virus does pass quickly, it becomes dormant in the body. Physical, mental, and emotional stress can cause the virus to become active once again, and you can develop something called shingles later in life. This is something that may affect your child if you opt out of the vaccine.
While shingles is caused by the same virus as chicken pox, the body's reaction is much different. Instead of seeing blisters or spots across the body, you are more likely to experience a severe rash that is red, inflamed, sensitive, and extremely itchy. Pain, weakness, and fatigue are common symptoms of the disease, and the issue is likely to last a month or more. In comparison to chicken pox, shingles lasts longer and produces far worse symptoms.
If your child never develops chicken pox, then they will not develop shingles in the future. This is one of the greatest benefits to having your child receive the vaccine.
It Stops Complications From Developing
While most children will experience chicken pox without any complications, this does not mean that the illness will always pass easily. Some complications may develop. For example, a brain infection can develop and will require hospitalization. Also, something called Reye syndrome can form in conjunction with chicken pox. Both brain damage and liver damage may be noted with this ailment.
The development of pneumonia, heart infections, and vision problems can occur too. If the blisters are large or if your child itches intensely when they develop chicken pox, then scars are likely to form too.
While complications are rare, they can easily be avoided with the chicken pox vaccine, so speak with your physician about the immunization if your child has not received it yet.