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Natural immunity to Chicken Pox


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Initial post: Jan 31, 2009 7:35:47 PM PST
Hollydayzd says:
I'd like to ask others if they have ever known anyone with a natural immunity to Chicken Pox?

My mother is apparently one of those who is naturally immune. She was around lots of kids with pox growing up & she never got it --- not even as an adult when *I* had it and she took care of me. She had several aunts who were also immune.

I have no idea how this type of weird immunity might skip a generation, but even though I had pox, 2 of my children appear to also be naturally immune. My middle child got a normal case of Chicken Pox and the other 2 never caught it - even though they all hung out together, played together, slept in the same bed, etc etc. They were also exposed to other children with it and never caught it from them either.

My doctor does not believe me (he says NO ONE is immune to Chicken Pox) and has scolded me for not giving my kids the Chicken Pox vaccination.

Sooo, am I being shortsighted or should they get this shot? I know you are not supposed to receive it if you have already had pox, so what would happen if a naturally immune person got the vaccine?

My oldest will be starting college soon and I know Chicken Pox is much worse if you catch it as an adult. However, my mother is in her mid-60s and has still never had it. Any opinions???

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2009 8:16:55 PM PST
D. Isaak says:
Based on my family's experience with chicken pox, I believe you can be resistant - not sure about immune. My mother tried repeatedly to expose me and my siblings to it to no avail. Also, my daughter was exposed repeatedly-direct contact with active cases more than a few times-and never got them either. I opted to give her the vaccination because adult chicken pox is dangerous and can lead to serious complications. I would consider the risks of the vaccination against the risks of getting chicken pox as an adult and all the possible serious complications that can ensue. The vaccination is much safer in the end.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2009 8:18:21 PM PST
Intrepid says:
Many kids have a subacute case of chickenpox that imparts immunity. One of my nurses knows he had a single blister on his back. None on face or arms, etc.

If you are really curious, ask your mother to have a chickenpox titer. I am virtually certain she will show antibodies consistent with past exposure. If not, let us know.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2009 5:05:55 AM PST
Glit says:
My mother is the same way. She never had it as a child even when her 2 brothers were sick with chickenpox. She never caught it as an adult when me and my 2 brothers had it either. However I do not know if it is a hereditary trait because the rest of us have had chickenpox.

On another topic don't let your doctor scold you for not getting your kids vaccinated against chickenpox. There are a lot of questions about the vaccine (such as the length of immunity that may put your children at risk in their adult years) and I urge you to educate yourself and make an INFORMED decision about the risks and benefits of the chickenpox vaccine.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2009 5:34:42 AM PST
Linda V says:
Even if it were true that no one is immune to chicken pox, that's no justification for the shot. Expose them to it in other kids, though. You don't want them to get no exposure to it until they're adults. It can be much more unpleasant if you get it as an adult.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 7:26:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2009 7:29:59 AM PST
I have been directly exposed several times but never contracted chickenpox. I told my dr. & he insisted that I get vaccinated after running a titer showing zero antibodies, which I did. When I had my next child (about 4 years later) they ran another titer which came back showing zero antibodies again.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 8:22:25 AM PST
savi says:
As a child I received the Small Pox vaccination. I did not have any reaction to it and the doctor repeated the vaccination which had the same non-effect. I was always very happy that I did not have the unattractive scar all my friends had as a result of the vaccination. I passed this immunity on to both my children. I realize you were asking about Chicken Pox but thought I would mention this as it does speak to the possibility of natural immunity.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 9:55:07 AM PST
T.L. says:
Myself and my 4 siblings have never had chicken pox. My 2 oldest nieces that are 40'ish never had it, yet their children have. Oddly my youngest nieces are 20'ish and they have had it, even though they are considered the same generation as my older nieces. My son has had it and he is in their generation, so the immunity has weakened after mine and my siblings generation. I'm so glad I happened to come across this website because I always thought it odd and never heard about anyone else being immune. When you tell people they don't believe it.
I believe in a natural immunity and if your children have been exposed and never caught it and you are not comfortable with them getting the shot then look up some medical research on it and talk to other doctors before you decide.
Even though this isn't the topic - the meningitis shot should definitely be given to your children - especially before they go off to college. That is more dangerous than chicken pox - it's deadly. Good luck with your decision.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 10:06:30 AM PST
bluebug says:
I think there's a third possibility...they could have been exposed and developed antibodies without ever presenting with a "typical" case (rash) of chicken pox...you could always get a titer drawn (blood) to see if they have antibodies present.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 1:39:10 PM PST
McOliveto says:
I have never had chicken pox, although as a child I desperately tried to catch it as I was told that it only got worse the older you got.

As for vaccination, this is often a combined vaccination for several different poxes. Another thing to keep in mind, as we age, our immune system changes and decreases. Although I may have not gotten chicken pox at this point in my life, in 20 years when my immune system becomes sluggish, I may catch it then.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 1:54:41 PM PST
Granny B says:
I have two children of my 6 that have never had chicken pox. Concerned after multiple exposures, as soon as there was a vaccine available I asked my Dr. if they should be immunized. He told me that what I needed to do was to get a blood workup done to screen for the anti-bodies, ie. "natural immunity" and then if they showed they were vulnerable to immunize them.
My advice: find a different doctor who is aware that some people have those antibodies and may not have manifested the normal pox symptoms when they were exposed.
By the way, the oldest of those two is graduating college this year and still has not ever had Chicken Pox!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2009 5:50:20 AM PST
Jan says:
Bury an owls beak at midnight of the next full moon and recite the secret incantation, which is the montana tech fight song backwards.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 10:05:28 AM PDT
trooper says:
As a child, my mother used to ship me off to every kid's house in the area to catch chicken pox, measles, and mumps. She made me stay there for a couple of days and nights and I don't believe I ever contracted any thing. How can I tell if I have immunity to these diseases or not?

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 10:05:31 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 20, 2009 10:06:21 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2009 10:57:10 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 9, 2010 2:34:11 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 3:39:47 AM PST
Jane Eyre says:
i also have never had chicken pox! neither has one of my brothers (we are also both left-handed, oddly.) anyhow, i got the vaccination when i was 21 years old because it was required by my college. :D my brother still has never had a vaccine, and has never had shingles or chickenpox. i'm also not sure if it's related, but i've never had herpes simplex (coldsores) ever. this could be also because my parents never let older adults kiss me as is common among many families.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 6:23:55 AM PST
S. Evans says:
Kind of an old discussion, but interesting nonetheless. NBC Nightly News reported last night that more and more parents are foregoing having their children vaccinated. As a health care professional, I find this alarming. As pointed out in the segment, these folks are endangering others. "Herd immunity" is a well-known concept in public health; it is defined by a large pool of immune/vaccinated people providing a measure of protection to the unvaccinated. What will happen when we lose this large pool? With world travel being common, it's easy to see illnesses being brought over by the non-immune and infecting our population, especially the vulnerable children.

As far as chicken pox, I never had it either even though I was exposed as a child and also as a mother -- all five of my kids had it, including the youngest at age 17. Of the five, she was far and away the most ill and miserable -- so I would urge parents to either have their kids vaccinated or expose them as young ones. I had the herpes zoster (virus which causes chicken pox) titer when I was pregnant with my first child. It showed that I had antibodies. I was an Rh baby back in the 50s and had a whole blood transfusion at birth. I can only guess that the wonderful person who donated that blood also gave me his/her immunities, as I never caught mumps, measles, rubella -- yet have the antibodies for them.

Interesting discussion.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 6:58:09 AM PST
Imbroglio98 says:
Parents should be given non-biased information regarding the pros and cons of vaccination. Unfortunately today the medical establishment attempts to scare people into vaccination compliance. Fortunately there are some doctors out there offering fair and unbiased advice, as does, for example, Dr. Sears (http://www.askdrsears.com/). Probably the best advice for most folks is to have many but not all of the standard vaccinations, and most importantly, to do them GRADUALLY, that is, do not subject your infant child to 3 or 4 vaccinations at once because there is real danger in overwhelming and altering an infants immune system, and not always for the better. There are also a growing number of doctors who practice what is known as Common Sense Pediatrics (e.g., http://drcorneliafranz.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=1), who follow an alternative vaccination schedule (http://drcorneliafranz.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=1).

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 7:46:51 AM PST
I was too old by the time the vaccine came out. I remember getting chicken pox right before 8th grade and it was a horrible experience. I missed 2 weeks of school and football practice, but that was the best part. It was painful and itched like hell!! I remember wanting to bust open every bump. I actually did and a few small pot hole marks are still on my arms today. I couldn't imagine my parents sending me off somewhere to get a disease like that.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 7:52:15 AM PST
Remember Dan, we are dealing with people that think "It's not so bad" in regard to these illnesses.

Chicken pox was a tiny slice of hell....two weeks of fevers and itching!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 8:07:15 AM PST
That's why I never get the "death rate" argument. It's not even about that with many diseases. It was hell, being really sick for 2 weeks, missing the chance for a first string spot on the team (football was my life back then) and it was the end of summer so cathcing up with 2 weeks of school at the beginning of the year lasted months. But my family has never had trouble with vaccines so it would have been nice to have the chance to avoid that whole ordeal.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 8:52:19 AM PST
And I wonder how many anti-vaccers are joining Goldfield's team?

Its okay to let a kid suffer through preventable disease but don't spank them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 9:12:51 AM PST
S. Evans says:
Unfortunately some of these diseases can cause death or permanent disability. Whooping cough, tetanus, measles, rubella (for the child in utero) can and have been deadly. In addition, the chicken pox virus can kill an immunosuppressed person like someone undergoing chemotherapy or treatment for HIV. I like Imbroglio's advice above to choose wisely and educate yourself as a parent.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 10:26:35 AM PST
I had a very bad case as an 1 year old- don't remember a thing, but I have wonderful antibodies as was shown by my prenatal titers. I will allow my children to go without the vaccine for now, they are very young. I will reassess the pros and cons if by chance they don't appear to get it before middle school. As the kids get older, the severity and scarring is more likely.
I have 1 faint scar on my forehead- my older brother picked at the scabs because they upset him.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 12:18:48 PM PST
Paul Frary says:
Since I work at the hospital, they checked if I had antibodies to chickenpox and I did not so I was going to get vaccinated soon, but I only went for the vaccination after my husband was diagnosed with chickenpox. Perhaps I have what may be called innate immunity to chickenpox. (P.S.: I am writing from my husband's Amazon account).
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Discussion in:  Health forum
Participants:  49
Total posts:  141
Initial post:  Jan 31, 2009
Latest post:  Sep 18, 2014

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