Dr Mignon McCulloch, Consultant Paediatrician, The Portland Hospital
Q. I’ve heard that some people hold ‘Chicken Pox Parties’ for their children! Is it true that I should try and expose my child to the chicken pox virus so they don’t contract it as an adult?
A. Chickenpox is a common childhood infection and in most cases symptoms are mild with few complications. In the past, encouraging children to ‘pick-up’ this infection by visiting those with chickenpox was encouraged. However, there are certain groups of people who are vulnerable to severe complications such as those with abnormal immune systems e.g. after chemotherapy, transplantation or on long terms steroid treatment as well as pregnant mums and newborn babies. Chickenpox can also be more severe in adults. This is apart from the time children have to take off school and parents off work to look after an irritable itchy patient. There is now a safe, extensively researched and well-tolerated vaccine available that can be given safely to any child over 12 months of age. This provides immunity in 9 out of 10 children after a single dose; but for a better response a 2-dose schedule is now recommended. At the end of the day, this is an individual decision for most normal children and parents wanting to give this vaccine should get in touch with their local GP or paediatrician. Currently this vaccine is not part of the routine vaccination schedule but is readily available.
For further information or to book an appointment please contact Dr McCulloch’s secretary.
Telephone: 020 7390 8295
Fax: 020 8839 9285