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What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a respiratory illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The incubation period of this illness is usually 14-16 days. The contagious period is primarily from 1-2 days before the rash appears until right after it appears. An infected person no longer spreads the virus when all the blisters have scabs and no new blisters are forming. Symptoms include the following:

  •     Rash (i.e. small, red bumps that blister for 3-4 days and then form scabs).
  •     Rash is more noticeable on the trunk of the body rather than the exposed parts of the body.
  •     Rash may appear inside mouth, ears, genital areas, and scalp.
  •     Fever, runny nose, and cough.

How is it spread?

  •     Chickenpox is highly contagious for people who have not had the disease before or protected by the chickenpox vaccine.
  •     A person may get the disease primarily from direct contact with mucus from the eyes, nose, or mouth and from fluid inside the blisters of an infected person.
  •     Airborne by mouth or nose droplets form coughing or sneezing.
  •     Can be spread by someone with uncovered shingles lesions, as the virus that causes shingles is reactivated chickenpox virus in someone who previously had chickenpox.

How to control it?

All children 12 months of age or older should be vaccinated. Young adults and other adults that are susceptible to the disease should also be vaccinated. Children who are infected should be excluded from other until the rash has crusted over. One should always practice proper hand washing and surface sanitation. If your child is infected, ventilate the room with fresh air from the outside.
What should the caregiver/teacher and family do?

  •     Report the infection to your child’s care center or school.
  •     Report the infection to the health department.
  •     Specifically notify all adults who have not had chickenpox or the vaccine who may have been exposed. Pregnant women should see their physician within 24 hours after exposure to chickenpox.
  •     Wash hands thoroughly throughout the day and after having contact with soiled articles or blisters.
  •     Exclude infected children from group settings. Children can be readmitted to group settings once all the blisters have scabs (usually after 6 days since rash appeared).

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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