The chickenpox vaccine to avoid the calamine lotion

The smell of calamine brings memories of fever, itch and a few days in bed with chickenpox.

The itching, fever and calamine could, however, be a thing of the past.
If your child has not had chickenpox we advise that you consider the merits of this safe and effective vaccine.

Children with chickenpox develop flu like symptoms with fever, runny nose, headache and loss of appetite. They will also have the typical itchy chickenpox rash with perhaps 200 to 500 blisters. The rash lasts a week or more and some parents report permanent scarring.

Further complications are rare in children, but do include secondary bacterial infection of the blisters, pneumonia and encephalitis.

In the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued a recommendation in 2006 for two doses of varicella vaccine to be given universally to children. Several European countries including Germany vaccinate all children against chickenpox. In the UK, the vaccine is currently only offered to some children who are particularly vulnerable.

The vaccine is a live vaccine and can be given from 12 months of age.  As it as a live vaccine it must be given either on the same day as MMR or delayed for one month.  So we usually recommend waiting til 13 months of age for the first dose.  A second dose is needed 6 weeks later to give full immunity.

Chickenpox vaccination can be arranged here at Oxford Private Medical Practice. Keep your family well and avoid the calamine!

With best wishes

Dr Ben Loxton-Edwards
GP at Oxford Private Medical Practice


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