Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness. It is highly infectious and can cause serious illness in adults who have not had chickenpox. It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters, which crust over to form scabs, and eventually drop off. Some children have only a few spots, while others can have spots covering their entire body. These are most likely to appear on the face, ears and scalp, under the arms, on the chest, tummy and on the arms and legs.
Chickenpox is caused by a virus. It is infectious from one to two days before the rash starts, until all the blisters have crusted over (five to six days after the start of the rash). To prevent spreading the infection, keep children away from school until all their spots have crusted over.
Your child will probably feel pretty miserable and irritable while they have it. They may have a fever for the first few days and the spots can be incredibly itchy.
Paracetamol (sugar-free) can help relieve fever and calamine lotion or cooling gels help ease itching.
Chickenpox usually gets better on its own. However, some children can become more seriously ill and need to see a doctor.
Contact your GP straight away if:
Blisters become infected.
Your child has chest pain or difficulty breathing.
You are pregnant.
You or any adult at home have not had chickenpox.