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Old 09-09-2005, 11:41 PM
Jillyvn is offline
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Long Term Effects of Chicken Pox


I was wondering if anyone might know if a severe case of the Chicken pox can result in a lowered immune system?

I had the chicken pox when I was 12, and I was very sick... My mother tells me prior to the illness, I never had any medical problems. Since then, I seem to have developed several illnesses that might be a result of a compromised immune system. Can anyone weigh in on this?
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebekkah
I was wondering if anyone might know if a severe case of the Chicken pox can result in a lowered immune system?

I had the chicken pox when I was 12, and I was very sick... My mother tells me prior to the illness, I never had any medical problems. Since then, I seem to have developed several illnesses that might be a result of a compromised immune system. Can anyone weigh in on this?
Having got CP as adult in my 30's (not a good thing) I was warned the CP Zoster virus can lay dormant and comes back as shingles when you're older.
Quote:
Shingles causes a painful rash of small blisters that typically appear on the body, often in a band on the chest and back. The virus that causes shingles is called varicella zoster. This is the virus that causes chickenpox.

After having chickenpox, the varicella virus lies dormant in the spinal cord. If the virus reactivates in the spinal cord it causes shingles.

Chickenpox and shingles
Chickenpox is very common in children, and usually only causes mild illness. Once someone has had chickenpox, they are immune to further infection. However, the varicella zoster virus which causes chickenpox remains in the body for life.

Normally, the varicella virus lies dormant and does not cause health problems. But if the immune system, which normally protects the body against infection, is weakened the virus can reactivate. When reactivated, it causes shingles, which can be more serious than chickenpox.

The medical name for chickenpox is varicella zoster and for shingles it is herpes zoster
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebekkah
I was wondering if anyone might know if a severe case of the Chicken pox can result in a lowered immune system?

I had the chicken pox when I was 12, and I was very sick... My mother tells me prior to the illness, I never had any medical problems. Since then, I seem to have developed several illnesses that might be a result of a compromised immune system. Can anyone weigh in on this?
The only documented long-term effect of chicken pox infection, other than immunity to further chicken pox infections, is shingles, which manifests as an excruciatingly painful rash. This normally doesn't show up until middle age, or until the immune system is compromised by something else. Even then, not everyone with chicken pox in their past gets shingles later in life.

It is extremely unlikely that any other immune system problems or illnesses were triggered by your chicken pox episode. I'd say "impossible" but I don't really like using that word.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:30 AM
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I am not a doctor (it's not that hard to type out the complete words) but my understanding is as above. It's normal to get CP as a kid, though usually before the age of 12. Maybe it increases the risk of shingles, but I don't know that it makes you any more vunerable to anything else. Anyway, once when I thought I might have had herpes I took a lot of lysine. I know there's no real evidence that it actually does anything, but the symptoms subsided quickly. Then again, I haven't had a common cold or flu for about six years--I don't know why, because I used to get them at least once a year. My understanding is that stress can spark a herpes/shingles outbreak, so if you can meditate, etc, on a regular basis, it might help to prevent that.

Maybe there's a doctor around who can tell us who is prone to shingles and why? Shingles is pretty nasty--it's like a virus that shoots up the nerves on your skin. I'd only wish it upon but my most hated enemy.
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Old 09-10-2005, 01:07 PM
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Is there any reliable way to prevent shingles? (Beside by not getting chicken pox in the first place).
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Old 09-10-2005, 01:17 PM
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It should be noted that shingles is not always nasty and not always excruciating. I never missed a day of work when I had it and the only real discomfort I had was that I couldn't wear a bra for about a week because the lesions were right under the chest band of my bra.
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Old 09-10-2005, 04:21 PM
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It should also be noted that shingles can occur without the rash. I've had several outbreaks of shingles in the last few years (diagnosed by my GP and two dermatologists) with no rash or visible symptom whatsoever - just the pain, in three different locations.
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtraKun
Is there any reliable way to prevent shingles? (Beside by not getting chicken pox in the first place).
Yeah, don't get stressed out and run down. The virus is apparently always there, but dormant. Only when your immune system is really whacked out does it appear. I've only had it once, without the rash but with the most ridiculous and annoying itch just inside my shoulder blade. For weeks I was walking around with one of those silly-looking back scratchers.

When I was a kid, our parents used to hold chicken-pox parties. Any time a kid came down with it, all the un-infected kids were marched off to his or her house with the hope that the infection would spread. Sounds weird, but it was effective! Also was done some for measles and mumps. Immunization is better, of course, but a measles vaccine didn't appear until I was a teen.
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