In the past, people didn’t have the ability to prevent dangerous diseases. People died at a very young age, often from conditions that are easily preventable today. Commonly known as chickenpox, varicella is that type of disease. Vaccination has reduced the number of complications and deaths from varicella so drastically the disease is no longer considered a major threat.
Over 3 million cases of varicella are avoided each year because of vaccination. Still, every year there are about 10,600 hospitalizations from varicella in the United States. There are also a worrying amount of deaths every year from this disease. From this information, it could be concluded that, even though it’s preventable, varicella is a disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The following guide will go over the particularities of both the disease and its vaccine. It will also discuss the main varicella vaccine side effects.
Varicella Vaccine – Why Do We Need It?
Varicella (or chickenpox) is a disease that causes a blister-like rash, tiredness, itching, bodily pain and fever. It is caused by a virus that goes by the name of varicella-zoster.
In extreme cases, it may lead to severe skin infection, scars, brain damage, pneumonia and even death. The varicella-zoster virus can travel through the air. It can also pass from one person to another through contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters. These characteristics make it a very contagious disease. For that reason, vaccinating against it is very important. It is not only beneficial for oneself but also for people who cannot get vaccinated such as those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.
The varicella vaccine is capable of building up a person’s immune system in order to resist the disease when it enters their system. It accomplishes this by infecting the system with a very low, non-threatening amount of the virus. Even though some people may still get chickenpox after the vaccine, the effects will be very mild. Despite any possible disadvantages, vaccination has proven to be a very effective way to avoid dangerous diseases.
Main Uses of the Varicella Vaccine and Recommended Dosage
The only use of the varicella vaccine is preventing the disease or, in some cases, reducing the intensity of its symptoms. Like all vaccines, the varicella vaccine prepares the system to fight the disease by exposing it to minimal amounts of the harmful virus. This exposure causes the system to develop a resistance to the virus, enabling it to defend itself when the time comes for it. Even though this exposure does produce some amount of negative effects, the current state of medical research keeps providing less harmful versions of the vaccine.
Some of the people who get vaccinated for this disease will still get infected with it. However, the symptoms they will experience will be much less intense and unpleasant. At the same time, the vaccination will also make the disease much less dangerous by reducing its harmful effects on the person’s system. In spite of all the varicella vaccination side effects, all these reasons make it a much safer option than getting the disease.
Because it can be more effective during this period, varicella vaccination is recommended during childhood. However, it can be received at any age with little or no repercussions. Most doctors agree that the best period to receive the varicella vaccination is between 12 months and 12 years of age.
In children, the recommended dosage for the varicella vaccine is two doses. Ideally, these doses should be spread over the course of a few years. Most doctors recommend the first dose to be received by the child at some point between 12 and 15 months of age. Accordingly, they recommend the second dose to be received by the child between ages four and six. People older than 14 years of age should receive the two doses with 28 days of separation between them.
8 Potential Side Effects of the Varicella Vaccine
Even though they are not dangerous, the varicella vaccine side effects can be quite unpleasant. However, they tend to last very little. Additionally, some measures can be taken in order to reduce them. The most important ones are:
1. Swelling. Usually located on the spot where the shot was given, one of the most common varicella vaccination side effects is some level of swelling.
2. Fever. Among the most common varicella vaccine side effects, a mild fever is to be expected.
3. Mild skin rash. This is one of the most annoying varicella vaccine side effects. However, it’s recommended not to scratch it since it can leave a mark.
4. Headache. Unfortunately, headaches affect most people that get vaccinated against varicella. The pain can be reduced using analgesics.
5. Sleep problems. Among other varicella vaccine side effects, some people experience insomnia.
6. Throat soreness. Even though it can happen, throat soreness is among the least common varicella vaccine side effects. It can be reduced using soothing throat medication like syrups and drops.
7. Muscle pain. Another very common side effect caused by the varicella vaccine, muscle pain can be relieved using a combination of muscle relaxants and analgesics.
8. Nausea. Although it can be very unpleasant, nausea is one of the less harmful side effects of the varicella vaccine. It can be relieved to a large extent by using anti-nausea medication.
After taking a good look at the role of the varicella vaccine in modern medicine, it can be concluded that it’s a beneficial drug that improves everyone’s quality of life. Because it helps control the spreading of a virus, vaccination is beneficial for the entire human race. However, it should be noted that it’s a procedure that should be overseen by a doctor.