Chickenpox

Toddler playing with pots on the kitchen floor
Chickenpox is a common childhood illness that most children catch.  Even so, it is a vaccine-preventable disease.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

UNDERSTANDING CHICKENPOX
Back to top

Chickenpox is…

  • A common childhood illness that most children catch.1
  • Medically known as varicella.1
  • Caused by the varicella-zoster virus.
  • Quickly spreads through coughs and sneezes of someone who is infected.2
  • Most common in children from 2-8 years.1
  • Highly infectious.3

 

Chickenpox infographic stating that 90% of adults are immune

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHICKENPOX?
Back to top
  • Rash of red spots that become intensely itchy after 12-14 hours and subsequently turn into a fluid-filled blister that crusts over and falls off naturally, 1 – 2 weeks later.2
  • The spots are most likely to appear on the following areas: The face, ears, scalp, arms, under arms, legs, chest, and stomach. 2
  • Nevertheless, Most children recover with no lasting effects 2
  • Please consult a doctor if any of the following occurs: Firstly – if the skin surrounding the blisters becomes red and painful. Secondly – if your child starts to get pains in the chest. Thirdly – if your child starts having difficulty breathing. 2

WHO IS AT SERIOUS RISK?
Back to top

Pregnant women:

  • Can cause the following: Miscarriage, congenital varicella syndrome/ neonatal varicella.
  • If a pregnant woman contracts chickenpox 7 days before or after giving birth, it can lead to serious type of chicken pox in the newborn baby and can be fatal.2

Others at risk:

  • People with a weak immune system.2
  • Adults with no previous exposure to the virus.2
  • Newborn babies.2

 

Silhouette of mother protecting her baby - metaphor for chickenpox vaccine

MANAGEMENT OF CHICKENPOX
Back to top
  • Although chickenpox is not serious for children, in most cases, it can be uncomfortable and disruptive to both you and your child’s daily routine.2
  • It is very contagious and therefore public settings should be avoided. The child should stay at home until the blister has burst and crusted over.1 Additionally, avoid scratching the blister and keep fingernails trimmed short to prevent skin infections. Incubation period for varicella from the time of contact to rash is generally 14 -16 days with a range of 10 – 21 days.1
  • Because chickenpox is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. For this reason, treatment is about controlling the itching from the rash and other symptoms related to the viral illness.3

Speak to your HCP about the creams and medications that are available.

 

 

PREVENTION
Back to top
  • Chickenpox is a vaccine preventable disease.1 The chickenpox vaccine is usually given to children as part of their normal routine vaccination.3
  • Chickenpox vaccines are highly immunogenic, efficacious and safe in preventing varicella disease.1
  • Chickenpox Vaccination demonstrates a significant and sustained decrease in the burden of varicella.1
  • If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, the symptoms are usually milder with fewer or no blisters (they may have just red spots) and mild or no fever.4

 




Chickenpox vaccine brochure medical references

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

For more health information

Click on the body area you want to know more about. Select a related health topic from the menu

Select a body area
Head
Chest
Abdomen
Pelvis
Legs
Feet
Mental Health
Skin
General
Infant Health
Restlessness and Teething in Babies
Restlessness and Teething in Babies
Although deemed as ‘normal’, teething may be accompanied by a fever, irritability, diarrhoea and poor sleep; amongst other things. Was this ....
Flu
Flu
There has been a steady increase in the number of flu cases reported recently. This is unusual because the flu season usually runs from March to ....
Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea
When is a runny tummy actually diarrhoea, and when to use an antidiarrhoeal? Was this helpful? Submit Cancel Thanks for your feedback! Was this ....
Sinus
Sinus
Sinuses are spaces in the bones of your cheeks, your forehead and your nose. Was this helpful? Submit Cancel Thanks for your feedback! Was this ....
Measles, Mumps and Rubella – MMR
Measles, Mumps and Rubella – MMR
Measles, Mumps and Rubella can be highly infectious diseases1 and can spread through droplets of saliva, inhaled or picked up from surfaces and ....