Information about Chicken Pox
Chickenpox is common and mostly affects children, although you can get it at any age. It usually gets better by itself within a week without needing to see a GP.
Check if it's chickenpox
You might get symptoms before or after the spots, including:
Chickenpox is very itchy and can make children feel miserable, even if they do not have many spots. Chickenpox is usually much worse in adults.
It's possible to get chickenpox more than once, although it's unusual.
If you're not sure it's chickenpox
Check other rashes in children.
Important - Things you can do yourself
You'll need to stay away from school, nursery or work until all the spots have crusted over.
This is usually 5 days after the spots first appeared.
Speak to a GP if:
Tell the receptionist you think it's chickenpox before going in. They may recommend a special appointment time if other patients are at risk.
Urgent advice: Get advice from 111 now if:
You may need medicine to prevent complications. You need to take it within 24 hours of the spots coming out.
111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
It's easy to catch chickenpox
You can catch chickenpox by being in the same room as someone with it. It's also spread by touching clothes or bedding that has fluid from the blisters on it.
How long chickenpox is infectious for?
It takes 1 to 3 weeks from the time you were exposed to chickenpox for the spots to start appearing.
Chickenpox in pregnancy
It's rare to get chickenpox when you're pregnant, and the chance of it causing complications is low.
If you do get chickenpox when you're pregnant, there's a small risk of your baby being very ill when it's born.
Speak to your GP if you have not had chickenpox and have been near someone with it.
The chickenpox vaccine
You can get the chickenpox vaccine on the NHS if there's a risk of harming someone with a weakened immune system.
For example, a child could be vaccinated if one of their parents was having chemotherapy.
You can pay for the vaccine at some private clinics or travel clinics. It costs between £120 and £200.
Shingles and chickenpox
You cannot catch shingles from someone with chickenpox.
You can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.
When you get chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It can be triggered again if your immune system is low and cause shingles.
This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.
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