WHY DO KIDS GET CHICKEN POX?
Chicken pox, otherwise known as Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV/HHV-3) is just one of eight different viruses that are infectious to people, in the herpesvirus family, although there are 100 known herpes viruses. Acute infection leads to varicella, or “chicken pox.” It’s contagious through direct contact with a skin lesion or through airborne spread from respiratory droplets.
Over 90% of today’s adults acquired the virus during childhood and lifelong immunity is boosted every time there is contact with an active case of wild chicken pox. Historically, children have generously given their parents, teachers, pediatricians, and the community at large this “immune boost”, but with more and more children getting the chicken pox vaccine, since it became available in 1995, fewer and fewer children are getting this childhood acute illness, and are not supplying the immune boost needed to avoid Shingles.
The VZ virus is a retrovirus which means it remains dormant in the cranial nerve. Dorsal root ganglia can reactivate later causing Herpes Zoster (HZ) or “shingles,” if exogenous (outside) boosts are not encountered or if the person is immunocompromised (under stress, in a state of flux). Being in contact with children carrying VZV (chicken pox) is what tones and ‘reminds’ the immune system to stay healthy.