Chicken pox......... and Shingles - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-25-2011, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My children did not receive the varicella vaccine.  None of them has contracted chicken pox.  I thought the best thing that could happen would be actually becoming infected so they would have lifelong immunity....like me and my husband.  I thought that scenario would be unlikely now that most children are vaccinated.  Kind of a dilema but my thinking was..... if they don't get CP, they can be vaccinated later if we decide to go that route.

 

My MIL whom we see frequently, almost on a daily basis, has some condition.  She is a very tough lady and has been taking advil constantly.  She still feels bad but manages to cope. She has been to the Dr (finally) and they gave her some medication which has not helped.  She mentioned she may have shingles and she thinks the DR pretty much dismissed it.  Her symptoms seem exactly like shingles.  Everything I read is describing her condition.  She thinks she has shingles.  But she says she has not had CP.  I have read this cannot be possible.

 

My question:  if she does in fact have shingles (maybe does not know she had CP), should I let my children catch CP from her (maybe) shingles.  I do not relish having 4 sick kids but maybe this would be the best thing??  I mean, when is a good time to have CP?  But my mom nursed us through.  Also, maybe worth mentioning, I am about 10 weeks pregnant..... does this have any bearing on my decision??  My little one isn't even 2 (but she is still nursing) is this going to be a nightmare??  Should I just wait for an "opportunity" later or perhaps vaccinate down the road.  Does anyone have any advice for me???  Please help. 

 

 

 

 

 


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Old 06-04-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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There is a 1-3% risk of birth defects for the fetus younger than 20 weeks if a non-immune woman gets a case of chickenpox. The baby may also be at risk if the mom gets it a few days before delivery. Having chickenpox makes the mom more at risk of getting pneumonia or other complications.

 

Luckily, you had it as a child so you should be immune- however, there are rare cases of people who get chickenpox more than once. I wouldn't take the chance if I were pregnant.

 

Your MIL needs a second opinion especially if the meds the doctor is giving her are not working. At some point in my life I was exposed to chickenpox because I have a positive titer but I have never had the disease. I don't know if it puts me at risk for shingles but I bet it is possible.

 

 


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Old 06-05-2011, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The Dr now says she does have shingles.  Said she could have been exposed to the virus but at her age she wouldn't get chicken pox, but shingles.  Very confusing disease.  I thought you had to have had CP.  Anyhow, that is how the Dr explained it.  I thought she had probably been exposed at some time in her life.

 

I did have a mild case when I was young and a good strong case in the 4th grade.  I feel pretty good about my immunity.... which is good because I was exposed to her a lot before it was even diagnosed.  But what about me contracting shingles??  Is that possible.  I hope not because I have been around her a lot.

 

My MIL says the way she caught shingles (contact with shingles) she can not pass it on to the kids.......... which *seems* to be the case because they also have seen her tons and no one thus far has gotten ill.  I just want her to get better because I know it is totally painful and I don't want to have to think about this anymore. 


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Old 06-06-2011, 10:23 PM
 
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First of all, shingles is due to reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox.  If your MIL does not remember having CP, then she either 1) had a mild case and didn't realize it/ was asymptomatic; 2) had it when she was very young and doesn't remember.  You don't get shingles from being exposed to shingles.  The doctor is either very uninformed or you misunderstood.  You get shingles when the CP viral DNA, which hangs out in your nerves, is reactivated.

 

Second, whereas chicken pox (primary disease) can spread through the air or through contact with the lesions, the virus usually spreads from a shingles (secondary disease) patient by direct contact with the lesion/ pus (yuck).  The kids haven't gotten CP (yet) because they haven't been touching her lesions, or washcloths your MIL has used.  Similarly, you can't catch CP from her shingles if you already had CP.  

 

I wish your MIL a speedy recovery!

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Old 06-08-2011, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info.  That was my understanding.  I told my MIL that I had been looking things up on the computer and I said that one could not get shingles unless you had the CP (or had the virus in your body due to mild case or asymtomatic).  I don't know what part of the transmission got messed up here but yeah, she said the Dr.  said that when an adult "catches" chicken pox, it is not CP, it is shingles.  Thank you for confirming what I thought I knew.  And clarifying something I didn't....... about why my kids, though ultra exposed have not gotten CP.  Almost all her sores are on the inside, left side of her mouth.  Like one mega cold sore along her gumline and even down her throat.  She has maybe 4 sores her face, on the outside of her mouth.  They dried up over a week ago even though they are still somewhat visible....and I am sure, still hurt.  

 

Related question:  it looks like my children will not get the CP this time, which is probably good.  I have always thought the best thing for them would be to get the CP and have the lifelong immunity.  But I feared not being able to expose them normally.  If I hear of someone we know contracting shingles, would it make sense for me to have them spend a little time with them?

 

Also, my husband says, maybe it would be best if they got vaccinated when they got older because if they never got CP, they can't get shingles.  Is this a logical train of thought.  I am torn on the varicella vaccine.  But as my kids are older, I am not as worried about them being selectively vaccinated.  Is this one I should opt for??  If so, what is a good age?? 


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Old 06-08-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by campbellsoup View Post

 

Also, my husband says, maybe it would be best if they got vaccinated when they got older because if they never got CP, they can't get shingles.  Is this a logical train of thought.



No, it is not logical if you know the facts. The chickenpox vaccine introduces the live varicella virus into the body. Once the virus is in the body, it is possible to reactivate as shingles.

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Old 06-08-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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No, it is not logical if you know the facts. The chickenpox vaccine introduces the live varicella virus into the body. Once the virus is in the body, it is possible to reactivate as shingles.



This makes sense logically speaking, yet I've had two care providers tell me that the vaccine prevents shingles. I'm still researching this, though; I wonder if the lack of an active infection prevents later reactivation, even though it's a live virus vaccine?


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Old 06-08-2011, 10:22 PM
 
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This makes sense logically speaking, yet I've had two care providers tell me that the vaccine prevents shingles. I'm still researching this, though; I wonder if the lack of an active infection prevents later reactivation, even though it's a live virus vaccine?

They are wrong, and no.

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Old 06-08-2011, 10:29 PM
 
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They are wrong, and no.



Do you have any primary sources I could look up?


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Old 06-08-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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One of our dd's caught chicken pox a second time from her brother when her brother had shingles.  Their little sister caught CP for the first time then as well.


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Old 06-09-2011, 09:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trauerweidchen View Post

This makes sense logically speaking, yet I've had two care providers tell me that the vaccine prevents shingles. I'm still researching this, though; I wonder if the lack of an active infection prevents later reactivation, even though it's a live virus vaccine?

 

There have been a few studies which have showed that kids who have the vaccine are something like five times less likely to have pediatric shingles than those who have natural chickenpox, though of course pediatric shingles is rather rare in both groups, perhaps because the weaker virus used in the vaccine is less likely to reactivate than the wild virus.  If that continues to be the case for adults, it could end up lowering the overall shingles rate even if those of us who had natural chickenpox end up with an increased risk due to lack of natural boostering from chickenpox exposure, but of course, only time will tell for sure.  
 

 

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Old 06-09-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by trauerweidchen View Post

Do you have any primary sources I could look up?


http://www.springerlink.com/content/7b4nmrcjwyx1pjln/

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Old 06-10-2011, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So....... there is pediatric shingles.  Interesting.  I did not know that.


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Old 06-10-2011, 02:17 PM
 
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Both our ds who had shingles and our dd who caught it the second time had had CP as babies.  Nevertheless, their doctor had never seen shingles before in anyone so young.  (5yo!) It took a while to dx because it was so unexpected. 


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