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Chicken Pox exposure guards against Shingles

September 16th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

My daughter currently has chicken pox so I’ve been doing some on-line research, mainly to see when the contagious period ends. Having previously had it myself (unfortunately as an adult) I was interested in the connection with shingles.

Chicken Pox I knew that you can only get shingles if you have previously had chicken pox, as shingles is caused by re-emergence of the chicken pox (varicella) virus which has lain dormant in your body, but I had recently been told that exposure to chicken pox can trigger an outbreak of shingles. This is not so and I was interested to discover from the NHS Direct website that exposure to chicken pox actually gives you a booster vaccination against shingles:

If the chickenpox vaccine were to be added to the list of childhood vaccinations, it is feared that there would be a greater number of cases of shingles in adults, until the vaccination was given to the entire population.
This is because adults who have had chickenpox as a child are less likely to have shingles in later life if they have been exposed occasionally to the chickenpox virus (for example by their children). This is because the exposure acts as a booster vaccine.

and the trigger for shingles is basically a weakening of the immune system, allowing the virus to re-emerge.

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  1. September 29th, 2008 at 01:47 | #1
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    I had no idea, and I know everythiung!

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