Expert Advice -- Can You Get Chicken Pox More Than Once?

My daughter recently had a mild case of chicken pox, I only saw about 14 lesions. She did have a fever for three days prior to breaking out. My question is, can she get the chicken pox again? Everyone says yes, but no one actually knows of a case.

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Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

Acquiring chicken pox almost always gives the child lifelong immunity to the disease. The severity of the chicken pox infection does not seem to significantly affect this immunity. In other words, whether you have five lesions or 205 lesions, the immunity is for the most part the same.

There are some who after having a very mild case of chicken pox later have problems with a type of reactivation called herpes zoster or "shingles". Getting more than one episode of chicken pox has certainly been reported, but it is very uncommon in those people with normal immune systems. Those with immune deficiencies including HIV have a much increased risk of having more severe problems with viruses including the chicken pox virus.

Many viruses can give a rash on the skin which may be confused as being chicken pox. I suspect that many cases of "another" infection of chicken pox are really the first case with the previous infection having been misdiagnosed.

To answer your question, yes, your daughter could get chicken pox again but it would be extremely unusual. The fact that she had only fourteen lesions does not sway that opinion.

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