Cold, chickenpox may increase stroke risk in children

Several new studies have suggested that common infections, such as a cold or chickenpox, may increase the risk of stroke in children.

One of the studies found that childhood vaccines appeared to offer some protection against childhood stroke and also according to news stroke in children is still quite rare.

According to Fullerton, the director of the Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Center, “Infections are very common and stroke is very rare in children. What’s going on is that infections are acting as a trigger for stroke in children who are likely predisposed to stroke”.


The studies that Fullerton was involved in were all part of a larger study on the vascular effects of infection in children.

The study found that children who had only some, few or none of the recommended childhood vaccines had a 6.7 times higher risk of stroke. Having ever received a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio or pneumococcal vaccine was significantly protective against stroke, according to the study.

“Kids who were more vaccinated tended to have lower rates of stroke. It’s one more reason to get your child vaccinated” Said study author Fullerton and according to him if parents notice the signs of illness in children, there is a treatment available for viral infections, if it’s begun early in the course of an infection.

Signs parents should look for in children are the same as in adults: Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body or face, Sudden difficulty speaking, Confusion, Sudden vision problems, Sudden trouble walking, Dizziness, Sudden, severe headache.

Children may also experience seizures during a stroke, particularly young children.

So, if you think you see signs of stroke in your child, call 911 immediately, the study’s author advised.