Q&A: Is chicken pox worse for younger babies?
My seven-month-old daughter may have chicken pox. Because she's so young is she at higher risk for more severe complications?
Chicken pox, or Varicella, used to infect over 95 percent of us in childhood, but the advent of the vaccine in the 1990s has changed the situation. It is seen less commonly now that America’s one year olds are being vaccinated, and as far as we can tell, the vaccine affords protection for at least one to two decades.
Varicella was never a disease that was particularly fatal, most bad outcomes come from scratched skin that then gets infected from other organisms, but for the extremely young and those without intact immune systems to fight it off(AIDS or cancer patients on chemotherapy) it can be extremely serious. Chicken pox in the newborn under 30 days of age is a serious situation. Beyond this, however the immune system slowly gets stronger and an illness like chicken pox is less likely to become an overwhelming or fatal infection.
For your seven month old, the first order of business is to confirm that her rash is or isn’t chicken pox. A quick visit to your doctor can accomplish this. A seven month old wouldn’t necessarily automatically be hospitalized for IV antiviral drugs as would a one month old, but she should be checked carefully and watched closely for the signs of a serious infection or complications.