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What is chicken pox?

Chicken pox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is very infectious.

How is it transmitted?

It spreads by an infected persons coughing and sneezing, close contact with open blisters and from a mother to an unborn child in pregnancy. The infectious period is 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all the blisters scab over.

What are the signs and symptoms of chicken pox?

The rash is a classic sign, it is very itchy and can affect face, chest, arms, legs and other body parts. Other symptoms might be feeling unwell, feeling sick, mild to severe fever, coughs and sore throat, loss of appetite.

Complications are rare but can includes secondary bacterial infection on the skin, scaring, neurological complications (meningitis and encephalitis) and pneumonia.

What is the incubation period?

The incubation period is 3 weeks from contracting the virus to developing the symptoms.

What is the treatment for Chicken pox?

The treatment for chicken pox will be about managing the symptoms. This can include pain relief, antihistamine, soothing lotions. Also keeping cool, trimming the fingernails, lukewarm baths might help.

How can it be prevented?

There is a vaccine available to prevent you from getting chicken pox. It is a live, but weakened form of the virus. A two dose course gives protection in 98% of children and 75% in Adults. Even if you get chicken pox after the vaccine it is much milder and shorter in duration.

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