It is a misconception that just because your child is generally healthy that they cannot get infected with a serious, contagious disease. When COVID-19 broke, parents everywhere were so worried for their children’s health because they knew that the whole world would be susceptible to it.
So why do we take any other contagious disease lightly? Especially when DOCUMENTED, protective measures have been in place for decades now1?
An example of a contagious disease is chickenpox2. Why do you think schools make announcements when there is an outbreak of chickenpox? They know that it will spread quickly among the kids3 and would put them at risk of potential complications arising from the disease1.
Don’t Take Contagious Diseases Lightly
It’s such a pain to watch our kids suffer from chickenpox. We can only imagine the pain and discomfort that they must feel having to fight the infection with their developing immune systems.
Chickenpox usually lasts for 2 weeks, and starts with the classic symptoms of a fever, then a rash that turns into itchy blisters on the back, chest, face and eventually the whole body2.
Typically, when day cares or schools warn parents of a chickenpox outbreak, it is because it spreads through the air (when an infected person coughs or sneezes) or when the virus is spread through the blister fluids that could be passed via touching2.
And let’s face it – children may not be able to follow proper hygiene and can touch people, surfaces or themselves often.
They will likely scratch the blisters – which not only make it harder to curb the spread when they’re interacting with other kids in school, but may also lead to secondary bacterial infection2,4.
What Do We Mean By “Not Taking It Lightly”
Parents should start asking their doctors about the right age to get the varicella vaccine. Image for representation purpose only
Parents should know that there is no cure for chickenpox5, only treatment to address the symptoms. Hence, it is not something to take lightly.
It is not something we should just be blase about and say, “Oh, it’s all right if my child gets chickenpox.”
Because it’s not all right for your child to get chickenpox when a vaccine-preventable disease may be prevented by getting immunized2!
The vaccine is given as a preventive measure to help prevent infection, reduce the risk of complications2.
When Should My Child Get Chickenpox Vaccine?
The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine is currently not available in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) by the Malaysian government, it is recommended as an additional vaccine6. However, it is easily found at most general practitioners clinics or paediatric clinics. Though the cost varies from clinic to clinic, parents must understand that the cost of these vaccines are worth it for the peace of mind.
After all, there is no monetary cost that outweighs our child’s health and safety, right?
So we recommend that you ask your GP or paediatrician about the right age to get the immunisation.
- Gershon AA. Vaccination against varicella: What’s the point?. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2010;659.
- PORTAL MyHEALTH. Chickenpox. Available From: https://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/chickenpox/. Last Accessed 20 August 2022.
- School and daycare exclusion policies for chickenpox: A rational approach. Paediatrics & child health.1999;4(4).
- Wolfson LJ, Castillo ME, Giglio N, Mészner Z, Molnár Z, Vàzquez M, et al. The use of antibiotics in the treatment of pediatric varicella patients: Real-world evidence from the multi-country Marvel Study in Latin America & Europe – BMC public health. BioMed Central. 2019;19(826).
- Health Service Executive. Chickenpox. Available From: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/chickenpox/. Last Accessed 21 August 2022.
- Immunise4Life. 5 Additional Recommended Vaccines for Children. Available From: https://immunise4life.my/5-additional-vaccines-for-children/. Last Accessed 23 September 2022.