Conditions

Chickenpox

Chickenpox

Chickenpox is one of those diseases that will affect most kids at some point, and though it’s not much fun to have, it’s rarely serious and doesn’t usually have any lasting impact. Although a vaccine does exist, at present the NHS only offers it to particularly at-risk groups, such as kids undergoing chemotherapy.

Chickenpox is a viral infection and it usually hits children before they are 10. It’s spread in a similar way to the cold – by kids coming into close contact with someone who has the disease and breathing in infected droplets of air. The virus is at it most prevalent between March and May and there are usually two to three weeks between catching the virus and the first appearance of symptoms.

The main symptom of chickenpox, of course, are those itchy, blistery red spots full of fluid which can appear anywhere on the body. There will also be a headache, a fever, sore throat, general aches around the body (especially the back) and a sense of being tired and unwell. Children will want to scratch away at those spots but don’t let them, as the fluid within carries the chickenpox virus and breaking the blisters will spread the infection. After a few days the spots will form a crusty scab, the fluid will start to turn cloudy and eventually the spots will fade, which means your child is on the road to recovery.

There’s no specific cure for chickenpox, but there are things you can do to minimise the discomfort. First, keep your child cool, as sweat will irritate the skin more. Crotamiton cream from the chemist, or calamine lotion can also soothe the affected areas, as will a warm (but not hot) bath. You should keep your child away from other kids while they are infected to prevent the virus spreading.

It’s very rare to get chickenpox more than once. Unusually, it is actually more serious in teenagers and adults (at which point it’s called shingles) than it is in children under 10. For this reason some parents let their kids get the disease, arguing that it is better ‘to get it out of the way’. Whatever decision you make, pregnant mums who have not had the disease themselves and who come into contact with infected children should check with their doctor as it can introduce complications.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

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I am 23 years old and suffering with chicken pox. I know it is a lot worse for adults than children but there is no information online as to what is 'normal' for adults. I'm on day 6 over all but day 4 of having actual spots. Day 2 and 3 of the having spots were the worst. I had an incredibly high fever, sore throat to the point were I couldn't swallow anything and anything i did manage to her down I kept bringing up. I slept most of the time but it was an unrested sleep. I felt horrendous but didn't know if this is what it is normally like or was I at the bad scale. There's just no information. If it wasn't a bank holiday I would have phoned the doc just to get some reassurance. I woke up feeling much better today albeit still with a slight fever, sore throat, head and neck ache and itchy as hell. But not nearly as bad as yesterday. My spots looked worse when i woke up but arestarting to clear very slowly but II'm worried about infection in some as they do not look right, red, raw and yellow/green. I suppose I will have to ring the doc about that tomorrow.





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My 9 year old niece has got chickenpox.Its been very hard for her to stop scratching. When is the best time for her to return to school.





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My 2 year old has spots in afew places but the don't look like they are filled with fluid, they came out on Friday tea time and by Sunday they look as if they are fading only been afew days, only had 1 rough uneasy night complaining on his belly button hurting. Is this chicken pox?





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My daughters nusery have chicken pox going around. She has had a cold and a cough for over a wk now. Is this just a cold or the start of chicken pox do you think? We are due to go on holiday :-(





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I'm 16 and it's my first time of getting chicken pox as I never had them as a child but my little brother had them and passed them on to me I've had them for 3 days and I'm coverd from head to toe in blisters all over my face back and stomach is the worst I think I'm coming out in more there incredibly itchy if I don't pick them will they scar? And how long will the spots last???





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i have them right now it lasts 6 days said the doctor to me so 6 days

My 4 year old has one single raised red spot with a paler centre filled will liquid on his thigh. Is this the start of chickenpox???





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My son is 6 and has had chickenpox for 11 days now and is still coming out in blisters on his hands, is this normal





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My son is also 6 and the exact same thing is happening. The doctor said if it doesn't go away in a few days to get a blood test to confirm it is actually chicken pox. I'm worried he has had this so long now.

My 7 year old child has chicken pox for one week now and I found lice in her hair at the same time what can I apply to her hair without irritating the the spots? Thanks





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Need help..I just finished from having Shingles. .I have 2 kids 1 is 9 yrs old girl and 14 months boy. Since 5 days my girl is complaining that her body hurts eg neck, arm,legs, head and she looks so unwell. She has lost her appetite. Just stays in bed. Do you think these are signs of Chicken pox?pls help





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My daughter aged 6 came in to contact with a relative on 14.04.14 who, unknown to us had got shingles. From24.04 she developed a heavy cold, was very irritable, sharp, complained of headaches and was tired. On Friday 02.05. in the morning she woke with at least 15 - 20 spots on her body. The Doctor requested to see her immediately before the surgery got busy and confirmed it was chicken pox. I have used calamine cream and lotion with a liquid antihistamine every 4 hours which, the later has proved very successful.

Hi my 6 yr old daughter as chickenpoxs which are now going but as not got a nasty cold is this normal as im lead to believe the cold comes 1st





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My son has the chicken pox now and didn´t get a cold first =)


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Chickenpox is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus (varicella is the medical name for chickenpox). Read More »