Okay, so this summer we were exposed to what I think were chickenpox. The kids came down with a high fever and Maggie had spots, but the boys didn't ever get spots. I was pretty happy about acquiring natural immunity with such a mild case if that was in fact what they had. It seems we will get a chance to test that immunity out since we had a playdate yesterday with friends who woke up with chickenpox this morning! lol Her husband is recovering from a case of shingles and apparently you can catch chickenpox from shingles since it is the same virus. Once again, I find myself a little nervous because no one wants to see their kids sick, but also happy that we might get the chance to acquire lifelong natural immunity to this virus, if they don't have it already.  An extra bonus is that when exposed to chickenpox as an adult (if you have already had the virus) it gives a natural immune booster that helps prevent you from catching shingles. The following is an excerpt from the NVIC (National Vaccine Information Center.) 

All vaccines only provide temporary immunity. Only recovery from natural chickenpox disease will provide lifelong immunity. When the chickenpox vaccine was licensed for public use in 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimated that it was 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing disease. A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study (Dec. 2002) reported that "the effectiveness of the vaccine was 44 percent against disease of any severity and 86 percent against moderate or severe disease." Some are suggesting a second dose of chickenpox vaccine may be needed. Another study in 2002 confirmed that adults exposed to natural chickenpox disease were protected from developing shingles and that there is concern that mass vaccination against chickenpox may cause a future epidemic of shingles, affecting more than 50 percent of Americans aged 10 to 44 years.

So, we have traded a mild childhood illness (for most), for a horribly painful and dangerous disease that can and will affect more and more of the population as long as the chickenpox vaccine is in mass use. Shingles is also a possibility for everyone who has only been vaccinated for chickenpox since it is a live virus vaccine. No one is exempt from this potential epidemic that is just waiting in our immune system waiting for a chance to break through. 2 options, you can get vaccinated all the freaking time with the chickenpox vaccine aka shingles vaccine or you can be exposed naturally by being around children with chickenpox. I vote for the latter. Think I'll go help a friend out this week to get my booster in case my kiddos are already immune. In case they're not though...anyone who doesn't want their children to catch chickenpox may want to postpone playdates with us for the incubation period of 21 days, since you are contagious before you have symptoms. :)  

Homeopathics for chickenpox/shingles:

Rhus Tox - for itching, take orally or dissolve in a little water and apply to spots. 

Belladonna - for high fever. This has worked numerous times for us in minutes! 

Aconitum Napellus - general immunity booster. 

Supplements I give when sick:
Vitamin D3 (1,000 iu for every 25 lbs)
Probiotics - water kefir
Echinacea and zinc lozenges

Edited on 1/24/2011 - 

The kids never came down with chickenpox! Woo hoo! So happy they acquired immunity from their mild case this summer... this was the extent of our spots. You'll probably have to click on the pic to even see the spots! They were barely there. 

ETA 12/3/12: 2 years later... news article discussing the increased risk of shingles due to the chickenpox vaccine.

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