What is it?
Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella zoster virus.
How do I know if someone has chickenpox?
Chickenpox usually begins with a slight fever and feeling unwell just before the rash appears. The rash is very characteristic, starting as red spots, which become raised and filled with fluid (“vesicles”), then scabbing over after 3 or 4 days. There may be spots in the mouth and eyes as well as on the skin.
Is it infectious?
Chickenpox is commonly spread from person to person by virus shed from the nose and throat as droplets or by direct contact. The fluid inside the blister is infectious. The illness is infectious from 5 days before (usually 1-2 days), until 5 days after the blisters appear.
What is the incubation period?
Chickenpox may appear 11– 20 days after contact with an infected person.
What should I do if someone has the illness?
Chickenpox is generally a mild disease, but can be more serious in some people.
Period the child should be kept away from nursery – Until all vesicles have crusted over
However, so as to minimise the further spread of infection at nursery and the overall amount of time children spend away, we may decide to exclude children, if more cases are diagnosed. The manager on duty will make this decision.
Chickenpox can affect the pregnancy if a woman has not already had the infection. Report exposure to midwife and GP at any stage of exposure. The GP and antenatal carer will arrange a blood test to check for immunity. Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, so anyone who has not had chickenpox is potentially vulnerable to the infection if they have close contact with a case of shingles.