Is it true that children are better off getting chicken pox than the vaccine?
The BabyCenter Editorial Team
No. Here's why medical experts – including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – say your child is much better off getting the chicken pox vaccination than risking the disease:
- The fever, fatigue, and rash of itchy, painful blister are no fun. The blisters may leave permanent scars, and if they get infected your child will need antibiotics.
- It's possible to develop complications like pneumonia, encephalitis, and a dangerous bacterial skin infection from chicken pox, even if your child is otherwise healthy. In fact, complications hit healthy kids most often.
- If your child goes to daycare or school, he'll probably miss eight or nine days if he comes down with chicken pox.
- The shot isn't 100 percent effective, but kids who get chicken pox after being vaccinated have an easier time of it, with very mild symptoms, fewer blisters, a lower fever, and a quicker recovery.
- The vaccine can protect your child later in life from a bad case of shingles – a related disease that affects about 10 percent of adults who've had chicken pox. According to the Immunization Action Coalition, the risk of shingles after vaccination appears to be less than the risk after infection. And those who do get shingles after being vaccinated usually have a milder case.
- While the vaccine hasn't been around long enough to say for sure, it's expected to provide lifelong immunity, just as the disease does.
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