We have a few cases of Chickenpox reported within our College Community. Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella virus. It cannot be treated with antibiotics. Treatment is usually to relieve the symptoms, which are commonly fever and a rash. Chickenpox is easily spread by direct contact with a person who has chickenpox, or by fluid droplets in the air when they cough or sneeze. A person with chickenpox is infectious to others from one to two days before the rash first appears until the last blisters have dried up. In rare cases, children can develop serious complications as a result of chickenpox. A chickenpox vaccination is given to children aged 18 months as part of their normal schedule of vaccinations. It is very effective, has few side effects and is free in Australia.
Signs and symptoms of chickenpox
If your child has chickenpox, they may:
- Have a mild fever
- Feel tired and irritable
- Be itchy
- Have a rash.
The rash usually appears 10 to 21 days after first being exposed to someone who has chickenpox. The time between exposure and getting the rash is called the incubation period. The rash usually first appears on the chest, back or face. It can then move to other areas of the body, including inside the mouth. At first, the rash looks like small pimples. These later become blisters full of fluid. Most children with chickenpox are unwell for about five to seven days.
You should take your child to see a GP if:
- They get large, sore, red areas around the rash, which may indicate a secondary bacterial infection
- They become increasingly unwell, are very drowsy, have a high fever or are not drinking
- You are concerned for any reason.
Children and adults can get chickenpox, but it is more common in children. Chickenpox is highly contagious, which means it is very easy to catch. It can be spread by having direct contact with the person who has chickenpox, especially by touching the liquid from the blisters. Chickenpox is also spread by the fluids that are coughed or sneezed into the air.
If your child has chickenpox, they are infectious to others from one to two days before the rash first appears up until the last blisters have dried up. Some members of the family may need to stay away from the child during this infectious stage.
Children with chickenpox should be kept home from the College until the last blister has dried. A dry blister scab is not infectious. Please let me know if your child gets chickenpox, you can email me email@example.com
Key points to remember
- Chickenpox is very easy to catch, and is infectious for one to two days before the rash starts up until the last blister has dried.
- The rash usually starts between 10 to 21 days after the first exposure to chickenpox.
- Antibiotics will not cure chickenpox.
- A chickenpox vaccination is given to children aged 18 months as part of their normal schedule of vaccinations.
College Nurse - Rosmary Brown