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Author Topic: Chicken pox twice? or three times?
lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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Okay, to put this post in context, I am lying here with my laptop, sporting 5 red, itchy bumps with clear vessicles, and my son is upstairs, with 15 bumps all over his torso and legs.

So, my questions is, can people get chicken pox twice? If so, is it contagious?

I googled it, and almost every page says that it is impossible to get chicken pox more than once, and subsequent bouts of the virus will manifest themselves as shingles, not as a rash.

However, this is my third case of what appear to be chicken pox. The first time was a typical childhood case, with the rash, fever, etc. The next time was in my first year teaching, after being exposed. Another teacher came down with shingles, but I had the typical lesions, but no fever or other symptoms. My doctor confirmed it was chickenpox. Now, again, (about 12 years later) I have the rash, but no other symptoms. Arrgh!

My son had chicken pox when he was just 3 weeks old (evidently, I hadn't conferred any immunity to him!), so I was prepared for him to get them again.

A friend who was here today has had the chicken pox 4 times, and was told that she was likely to get them again whenever she was exposed. Several other people that I have talked to say that they have had the rash twice. So, who's right, the docs, or the anecdotal evidence?

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I don't know, but yikes. Hope you're feeling better soon.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Special Tinsel
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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My Google Fu seems to agree with yours; it echoes the conventional wisdom that you can only get chickenpox once. Web MD contradicts itself in two separate articles, though, or at least isn't as clear as it probably should be.

quote:
Once you have had chickenpox, you become immune to the virus. It is possible that you may have a slight reaction after reexposure, such as a few spots and slight fever. However, you will not get a full-blown case of chickenpox more than once.
quote:
Once you have chickenpox, you are immune and will not have the infection again even though the virus stays in your body for life. If the virus becomes active again, it will not result in chickenpox, but can cause shingles (herpes zoster). Most people who develop shingles are older adults.

Symptoms of chickenpox can sometimes occur with other illnesses. For this reason, a person may think they have had chickenpox twice when they have actually had two different infections.

So, one seems to say that you could have mild bouts of chickenpox multiple times, but the other implies that anything that looks like a recurrence must actually be something else.

Personally, I had chickenpox twice as a child as well, or at least it seemed that way. They were both definitely full blown cases; whether one was actually something besides chickenpox I can't say. I actually had to be hospitalized the first time but never saw a doctor the second time.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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I have also had chicken pox twice. I had a very mild case when I was about 2 when my brother had them, and a much worse case at 19 or so when my cousins had them.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Nuclear Mosquito
Crane Damaged


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I had chicken pox twice, as well. First as a milder case when I was about 5 or 6, then a much, much worse case that has left me with a lot of scars when my lil sis had them, around when I was 7 or 8.

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If my calculations are correct: SLINKY + escalator = endless fun!

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Angi
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Both of my brothers had chicken pox twice. They each had a pretty good case the first time, but the second time they were terrible. I thought you could only get them once, but dr. said it was chicken pox.
My daughter only had about six spots when she was about a year old, I've always wondered if she would get them again.

Angie

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Dark Jaguar
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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The reason you should normally only get it once (from what I understand) is that you develop an immunity to it after the first time. So, I'd say anyone can catch it a second time if an immunity doesn't develop for whatever reason the first time... Someone with a medical background care to explain this better or correct what I might have got wrong?

I don't ever remember catching da 'pox as a kid, but my sibs all seem to have got it, and I was around them and didn't catch it myself. However, it's possible that I may have caught a similar bug that didn't have such a reaction and gained immunity that way (sorta like cheating [Big Grin] ). It's also possible I suppose that I really did catch the real thing but it was during a particularly nasty case of poison ivy. Certainly the itching would have been worse than normal, but I doubt I would have assumed it was due to something EXTRA that happened considering all I cared about was the calemine lotion... I say it's possible simply due to the sheer number of times I had horrible rashes from poison ivy poison (and poison oak, and ragweed), as a child. I don't mean to be graphic, or in some twisted way be bragging, but seriously these were some aweful leaking sores all over my arms and legs, and basically anywhere else I accidently touched spreading the poison to that skin too, so much that a few times it inflamed the tissue right in the inner part of an elbow or knee so that I couldn't bend that joint at ALL (yeesh, stupid pain sensation, give it a rest, I GET it already, that horrible gaping wound shouldn't be touched! Shut up!). I can see getting chicken pox without my parents or me noticing much, if anything... (I tended to scratch my various plant poison rashes and surrounding skin enough to make the scabs spread further... REALLY hard to stop, calemine lotion rocks...).

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blucanary
Jingle Bell Hock


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When people contract a virus the immune system kicks in and forms antibodies to fight off the virus. The se antibodies can stay in your blood stream to fight off further infections. It's possible your body doesn't make enough antibodies or they weaken after awhile and leave you vurnerable to another infection. I know you are suppose to be re-immunized for some things after about 10 years because they wear off, perhaps it's just that you're getting them just far enough apart that the anitbodies have weakened.

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Morrigan
Happy Holly Days


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I had the chicken pox twice when I was a kid.

It was horrible...

Morrigan

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"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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Thanks, everybody, for confirming my suspicions that a fair number of people have had the 'pox twice. I'm sure that it has something to with developing partial immunity, rather than full immunity. I still have to wonder why the web sites insist that most people can not get it twice, when it seems to be a fairly common occurance.

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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By an amazing coincidence, I had this same discussion with a coworker yesterday. I looked online and found this:

quote:
Can you get chickenpox more than once?
Yes, but it is uncommon to do so. For most people, one infection is thought to confer lifelong immunity.

That is from the American Centers for Disease Control website (www.cdc.gov).

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Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

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Morgaine La Raq Star
The "Was on Sale" Song


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My mom had them twice, a year apart, growing up. The second time they didn't even send her home from school because she'd already had them once & couldn't have them again.
My kids have both had the shot so hopefully, they'll never get the chicken pox. I just wish it prevented shingles too. Although, I wonder, if you've never had chicken pox, can you get shingles?


Morgaine

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I cannot live without books-Thomas Jefferson *~* A child educated only at school is an uneducated child - George Santayana
I'm going to pummel you with such zeal, Buddha will explode! *~* Never miss a good chance to shut up - Will Rogers

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The Cat In The Hat
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I also had chickenpox twice. The first case was very mild. I was probably around 6. I got it again, much worse, about 2 years later. IIRC, my doctor said that the first case was too mild and that I hadn't developed proper immunity to it.

The Cat In "hey, where'd these spots come from?" The Hat

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I had chicken pox or something very similar 3 times. Actually the first 2 times it was probably not chicken pox, it was probably something else because the the sores were not the same as the third time when I definately had chicken pox. It was still some sort of Varicella, but not the one that causes chickenpox.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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bruce in france
Deck the Malls


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As a child (between ages 6 & 10) not only did I have chicken pox twice, as well as the measles twice, but each disease triggered my allergies; I was a real mess...

-b

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Zorro
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Some people's immune systems don't work right, and they don't develop immunities for various things, not just chicken pox. I had chicken pox only once, and I had it bad, so thank whoever I never got it again!! However, and this has been tested on me several times, I don't make antibodies for measle or mumps. At all. I've gotten immunized several times, both as a child and as an adult, and then tested months later and...no antibodies. (I also have a primary immune deficiency, so I suspect that has a lot to do with it, but that's a whole other story.) Anyway, like I said, there are people who look perfectly healthy who don't make antibodies for some things.

Kar "working in a school probably not the smartest career choice for me" in

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"Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!"
-John Keating, "Dead Poets Society"

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