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varicella virus (chickenpox) vaccine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine (Varivax)?

You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to gelatin, neomycin (Mycifradin, Neo-Fradin, Neo-Tab), or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing varicella.

You should also not receive this vaccine if you have:

  • active tuberculosis infection that is not being treated;
  • a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome;
  • a chronic disease such as asthma or other breathing disorder, diabetes, kidney disease, or blood cell disorder such as anemia;
  • if you or someone in your household has severe immune suppression caused by disease (such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS), or by receiving certain medicines such as steroids, chemotherapy or radiation;
  • if you are under 18 years old and have recently taken aspirin or other similar medicines such as Disalcid, Doan's Pills, Dolobid, Salflex, Tricosal, and others;
  • if you have recently received a stem cell transplant; or
  • if you are pregnant.

Before receiving varicella virus (Chickenpox) vaccine, talk to your doctor if you have:

  • thrombocytopenia purpura (easy bruising or bleeding);
  • active tuberculosis infection; or
  • if you have received an immune globulin or other blood product within the past year.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

Avoid becoming pregnant for at least 3 months after receiving a varicella vaccine.

Do not receive this vaccine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is this vaccine given (Varivax)?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) under the skin. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

The varicella vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given to a child who is 12 to 15 months old. The booster shot is then given at 4 to 6 years of age, or at least 3 months after the first dose.

If you are at least 13 years old and you have never had chickenpox or received this vaccine, you should receive two varicella virus vaccines at least 28 days apart.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to take.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring if you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

This vaccine can cause false results on a skin test for tuberculosis. Tell any doctor who treats you if you have received a varicella virus vaccine within the past 4 to 6 weeks.

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