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Frequently asked questions

How long does chickenpox last?

Once a person has been in contact with the virus it takes about 2 weeks before symptoms appear. Chickenpox starts with a mild fever and is characterized by the itchy, blistery rash that forms over the entire body and starts to crust over within a few days until they fall off. Chickenpox blisters show up in waves. While the first blisters begin to crust, new spots might appear. While the symptoms last for only a number of days, it takes about 10-14 days until all blisters have crusted over and your child is no longer contagious

Is it true that one has a lifelong immunity to chickenpox once having had it as a child?

A single infection usually confers lifelong immunity against the disease. However, should a new born or baby contract chickenpox in the first 6 months of their life, the chances are high that they will contract the illness again at a later stage of their life.

Is chickenpox contagious?

Chickenpox is a common and extremely contagious airborne virus (varicella zoster, member of the herpes virus family) usually contracted in childhood. It spreads through the air by coughing or sneezing or by touching an infected child.

Is there a vaccine that prevents chickenpox?

Yes, there is vaccine that prevents chickenpox. However, not every country offers this vaccination programme. Some countries vaccinate the entire population. Whilst other countries vaccinate babies and children only. Check with your general practitioner about options of vaccination in your country. Keep in mind that generally speaking a case of chickenpox passes without complications and is not life threatening.

Can my child go to playgroup, nursery, pre-school or school when having chickenpox? Answer

If your child has contracted chickenpox, inform their playgroup, nursery, pre-school and school and keep them home until all the blisters have crusted over and they are no longer contagious. This normally occurs a week after the first rash started. Some playgroups, schools and such have different rules as your child may have contracted chickenpox there in the first place. Therefore it is advisable to coordinate with your child’s teacher in each individual case.

Can my child go to the playground, public pool or other public places when having chickenpox?

Try to avoid public places, as others may catch the virus, which may be dangerous, especially to those being pregnant or have a weak immune system. If your child has contracted chickenpox keep them away from the playground and other public places until all the blisters have crusted over and they are no longer contagious. This normally takes place a week after the first rash started. If you bring your child to a playground or any other such place inform people/parents that your child has chickenpox and is still contagious. Be reminded that just because you think it is fine to bring your contagious child to public places doesn’t mean everybody else will be.

Can my child go swimming and/or do sports?

Chickenpox is highly contagious. If your child has contracted chickenpox, he/she should not go swimming or play contact sports unless all blisters have crusted over. This normally takes place a week after the first rash started. Try to avoid public places, as others may catch the virus, which may be dangerous, especially to those who are pregnant or have a weak immune system. Swimming may also soften the crusts, which may result in a more intense itch and the crusts may fall off early leaving scars.

Can I bath or shower my child during a chickenpox outbreak?

It is fine for your child to shower or bath quickly while having chickenpox. Some children may find a bath in lukewarm or cold water relieves the itch. Do not bath in hot water as this may increase the itch and do not bath for too long. Pat your child dry after showering/bathing. Do not rub, to avoid blisters getting infected, crusts falling off and leaving scars.

Is it safe to fly?

Chickenpox is highly contagious. Your child may not be allowed to fly until all the crusts have fallen off. This is because germs circulate easily through the air condition systems on planes. The virus may be especially dangerous to those who are pregnant or have a weak immune system. In general it is only allowed to fly with a medical report. Each airline has their own policy so check with them first. In case of one having chickenpox, inform your travel insurance company right away to make sure that you will be covered if you have to cancel or postpone your vacation or if you need to extend your trip until your child is fit enough to travel back home.

Can my child go visit a hospital or ward having chickenpox?

Children with chickenpox should not visit relatives or friends in a hospital or ward without prior approval from such an institution.

Is it safe for pregnant or nursing woman to be around a child that has chickenpox?

Most women have had chickenpox in childhood and are therefore immune or have had a chickenpox vaccination. However a small percentage of pregnant women develop chickenpox, which can cause complications for both the unborn baby and the pregnant mother. There is a small chance for the baby to develop a condition called fetal varicella syndrome (FVS), which can cause serious abnormalities of various parts of the body. For detailed information about chances of your baby developing FVS, please contact your midwife or gynaecologist, as different stages of pregnancy bear different risks. If you are pregnant and you think or know that you may have contracted chickenpox contact your midwife, gynaecologist and/or general practitioner right away.

Is my new born or baby’s endangered being exposed to a sibling that has chickenpox?

The infection with chickenpox normally creates lifetime immunity to the disease. A nursing new born and baby are in most cases not susceptible to chickenpox if their mother has had chickenpox as a child. Antibodies will be passed through the placenta during pregnancy and additional ones through her milk to give sufficient immunity. Should your new born or baby still contract chickenpox in the first 6 months of their life, chances are high that they will not develop enough antibodies and therefore may be susceptible to contract the illness again at a later stage.

Is it safe for my child to be in the sun while having chickenpox?

The skin of a child is extremely vulnerable during an infection with chickenpox. Exposure to the sun can cause further irritation so it is best to keep your children out of direct and long exposure to the sun during chickenpox.

Who gets shingles?

Shingles is very common. Fifty percent of all people will have had shingles by the time they are 80. While it occurs in people of all ages, it is most common when you get older. Approximately one out of every three people 60 years+ will get shingles.

What is shingles?

Shingles (also known as varicella-zoster) is a skin disease caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. It is distinctive as it affects only one side of the body, most commonly around the torso. The early signs of shingles usually advance in three stages: severe pain or tingling, possibly itchy rash, as well as blisters that look very much like chickenpox.

What causes shingles?

Shingles is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a successful recovery from chickenpox the virus still remaines inactive in the body. At a later stage in life, the virus can become active again in the shape of shingles. The reason for why it reactivates for some people and not others is unclear. It may be due to a weakened immunity to infections as it is much more common in older adults and people who have weak immune system.

Why is shingles painful?

When the chickenpox-virus reactivates, it travels through the spinal nerve cells out to the skin. Inflammation along the nerve path causes the rash. And because the inflammation is in a nerve, it causes pain. This causes an inflammation along the nerve path that in turn creates a rash. Since the imflammation is located in a nerve, it also causes pain.

Do medicines cure shingles?

There is no cure for shingles, but you can help ease and reduce the symptoms of it. PoxClin Shingles is a product specifically designed to reduce the symptoms of itching and pain associated with shingles.

Is shingles contagious?

Shingles cannot be passed directly from one person to another. However, the the varicella zoster virus that causes shingles can be spread from a person with shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox. The person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox, but they would not develop shingles.