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My brother says that you can get chickenpox more than once. Can you?

Dear Dr. Cory:

My little brother says that you can get chickenpox more than once. Can you?

Nicole Nancitelli

Springfield, Massachusetts

Dear Nicole:

It is very rare, but a person can have chickenpox more than once. Usually once a person has had chickenpox, he will not get it again.

Chickenpox is caused by a virus. When you are first infected with a virus, your white blood cells make antibodies to fight the virus. The next time that same virus appears, the antibodies remember how to fight it. They protect the body again.

The same virus that causes chickenpox, a herpes virus, can also cause an infection called shingles. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus may hide in the nerve tissues "asleep" for many years. Later, the virus can "wake up" and cause shingles. This usually happens after the age of fifty and at a time when the body is under stress or weakened from illness or injury.
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Title Annotation:Ask Dr. Cory
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Jack & Jill
Date:Jun 1, 1995
Words:159
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