To avoid getting chickenpox, you should:

  1. Avoid contact with people who have it.
  2. Avoid sharing personal items.
  3. Get a chickenpox (varicella) vaccine against the virus.

Chickenpox Vaccine

The chickenpox vaccine is a series of two shots. It is often given to children at ages:

  • 12-15 months
  • 4-6 years

The vaccine may also be given to adults. It may be needed for those that never had chickenpox or if their protection has worn off. The vaccine may not be appropriate for all. Talk to your doctor about your needs.

The doctor may also give a vaccine shot after you have contact with someone who is ill. It must be given within three days of exposure to chicken pox to be helpful.

Immune Globulin

Some may not be able to have a vaccine because of a health condition. Immune globulin may help prevent an infection. It is a blood product that has antibodies to the chickenpox virus. It will help your body fight the infection.

Immune globulin is given right after exposure to the virus. It needs to be done within 96 hours. This treatment is most often used in people with a high risk for severe complications such as:

  • Adults, including pregnant women
  • Newborns whose mothers have chickenpox
  • People who are immunosuppressed or very ill

Preventing the Spread of Chickenpox

If someone in your household gets chickenpox, you can prevent it from spreading by:

  • Keeping them away from others. Wait until all blisters have crusted over before they mix with others.
  • Let other people who have been in contact with your child that they may have been exposed.
  • Wash your hands often and well.

It is rare to get chickenpox a second time. Once you have had chickenpox you may be protected from having it again. However, the chickenpox virus can stay in the body. It can later flare up and cause shingles. This condition causes painful blisters. These blisters can pass the virus to others. Avoid contact with others until the blisters heal. It is most important to avoid people with high risk of complications.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review BoardJames P. Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2018 -
  • Update Date: 07/03/2018 -