Chicken Pox – Symptoms, treatment, and advice

Chicken Pox is a common illness that usually affects children. It is most common during the Spring months but cases can appear at any time of year.

What is Chicken Pox?

Chicken Pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes Shingles. It is highly contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected person.

Chicken Pox symptoms

  • Chicken Pox usually starts with the appearance of red spots anywhere on the body.
  • These spots then turn into blisters and burst. The burst blisters will dry up and scab over.
  • New spots and blisters may form as older ones are healing.

This is a great image of the progression of a single Chicken Pox spot as time goes on.

(I would love to be able to credit the owner of this, but it’s been doing the rounds for so long it’s almost impossible to find who originally posted it! If you are the original owner please let me know so I can credit you.)

Other symptoms of Chicken Pox include:

  • A high temperature, over 38C
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Aches and pains, and generally feeling unwell.

Remember:

To stay away from school or work until ALL the spots have scabbed over.

Treating Chicken Pox

In most cases, Chicken Pox is harmless in the long term. However, sometimes complications can arise.

In uncomplicated cases, care can be given at home. While there is no cure for Chicken Pox, there are things that can help relieve the symptoms.

DO:

  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep hydrated.
  • Take Paracetamol to help with pain and discomfort.
  • Put socks on the child’s hands to prevent scratching
  • Bathe in cool water, patting the skin dry afterwards.
  • Dress in loose clothing

Pharmacists can usually help with suggestions of cooling gels and creams to soothe the itching.  However, filling a stocking or sock with porridge oats in a bath can do wonders for the itching.

DON’T:

  • Use Ibuprofen unless advised to by your doctor. Ibuprofen can cause serious skin infections in someone with Chicken Pox.
  • Be around pregnant women, newborn babies and people with a weakened immune system, as it can be dangerous for them.

When to seek further help

Sometimes, Chicken Pox can cause complications. It’s important to know when to call NHS Direct, or see a GP.

Speak to your GP if:

  • You’re not sure it’s Chicken Pox
  • There are signs of infection (red, hot, painful skin around the blisters)
  • Your child gets worse, or you have other concerns
  • You’re an adult with Chicken Pox or are in the ‘at risk’ category and have been in contact with someone with Chicken Pox.

Share this infographic with everyone so they know 8 important things to remember about Chicken Pox.

“Lucizaid

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