We've all heard about and perhaps experienced that childhood disease chickenpox. With this in mind, we bring you information on what you need to know about this common disease.
Did you know? 8 facts about chickenpox
- Chickenpox commonly causes an illness that lasts about 5-10 days1.
- A person with chickenpox can have 250 to 500 blisters1.
- An infected person can be contagious as early as 1 to 2 days before the rash appears2.
- Possible complications include skin infection, pneumonia and brain damage2.
- In Singapore, nearly 2/3 of pre-school children, 39.5% of primary school and 29% of adolescents (13-17 years old) are susceptible to varicella (chickenpox) infection3.
- Chickenpox scars can be found most often on the abdomen, face and back4.
- Anti-viral prescription medications for chickenpox are usually most effective when taken within the first 24 hours of illness2.
- Chickenpox can be prevented through vaccination2.
What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by a herpes virus called Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV)1. Anyone can get chickenpox2. However, it is more common in children2. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems1.
Chickenpox can also give rise to more severe problems in pregnant women2. If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox it may result in stillbirths or birth defects, and the disease can spread to their babies during childbirth2.
Symptoms of chickenpox
Typical symptoms that may appear 1 to 2 days before the rash include high fever, tiredness, headache and loss of appetite¹.
The classic chickenpox symptom is a rash that turns into itchy blisters¹. This rash / spots may leave scars when scratched².
The rash may start on the face, chest, and back¹. It can then spread to the rest of the body, including inside the mouth, eyelids or genital area¹. It usually takes about 1 week for all the blisters to become scabs¹.
How contagious is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is highly contagious2. It can spread in the air through coughing and sneezing, or even by touching chickenpox blisters1. An infected person can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before the rash appears until about 1 week later when all the spots are dried2.
Chickenpox commonly causes an illness that lasts about 5-10 days1. Your child may miss 5 to 6 days of school or childcare due to chickenpox1.
In Singapore, nearly 2/3 of pre-school children, 39.5% of primary school children and 29% of adolescents (13-17 years old) are susceptible to varicella (chickenpox) infection3.