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Expert Q&A:
Can infants get chicken pox?



Can infants get chicken pox? I was told they are immune. I have had the chicken pox already and will be having my baby in two days, but my nephews both have chicken pox and will be around my infant during the holidays. Can my baby get it and how serious could it be?


Yes, infants and even babies in the womb can get chicken pox, and when they do, it can be very serious. It is unlikely that your baby will get it since he will have some protection from you through the serum components, the antibodies that have crossed the placenta, and through your breast milk if you breastfeed. On the other hand, you should avoid direct and repeated exposure to your nephews. The lesions often carry streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria that pose another danger to your infant and can be passed through skin contact. These bacteria are carried on hands and in noses, even by people who do not have any skin sores. Make sure that everyone washes their hands before handling the baby. At the first sign of any infection or with the appearance of any skin lesion, contact your child's GP. (See for signs of serious illness in infants.) Overall, I'd recommend you change the visit to a time when the boys' lesions are all dry, uninfected and no longer contagious.

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