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Chickenpox frequently starts with
These symptoms may begin 2-4 days prior to development of the rash. The rash starts as numerous tiny red bumps that seem like pimples or insect bites. They generally start on the trunk and spread to the face and extremities.
If someone then gets infected by the virus as an adult, they run a much higher risk of developing a severe Varicella-zoster virus Pneumonia which is a type of lung infection. Less commonly encephalitis, which is an infection of the brain, can occur as well. These complications are rare in children.
Children under the age of one year have an increased risk of these complications. Therefore I would not recommend intentional exposure in infants. However exposing children between ages 2-13 years, who have no other medical conditions, is not a bad idea and likely gives longer terms of immunity to future infection than the vaccine.
Yes, everyone should get the vaccine even if they missed it as a child. It is critical to vaccinate older children and adults whenever the opportunity arises. These older individuals, when they contract chickenpox, are more likely to become seriously ill and have disease complications than younger children. Additionally, it is becoming clear that the vaccine does not give life-long immunity and booster immunization is likely to be necessary 5-10 years down the road much like the tetanus vaccine.
Chicken pox hardly ever causes complications, but it is not always harmless. It can cause hospitalization and, in rare cases, death. Fortunately, since the beginning of administration of the vaccine in 1995, hospitalizations have declined by nearly 90%, and there have been a small number of fatal cases of chickenpox.