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Chickenpox (medically known as ‘Varicella’) is a highly contagious virus, which most people catch as children. It causes a rash of red itchy spots that blister and eventually crust over to form scabs and eventually heal.

It can be passed on to others several days before you even know that you are infected. Common symptoms include a high temperature and feeling generally unwell prior to the itchy spots developing.

Some children will only develop a few spots and in more severe cases they can cover the entire body.

Calamine lotion will help to relieve the itchy rash and Calpol can help in reducing temperature and pain. Usually it clears up within a couple of weeks but once you've had chickenpox it’s rare for it to reoccur.

As it’s a very contagious virus, to prevent the spreading it’s highly recommended that children be kept in isolation away from nursery, schools and public places until their spots have all crusted over (usually around 1 week after the spots have first developed). Please also bear in mind that most airlines will NOT allow travel if you have chickenpox.

It is also important to avoid contact with pregnant women and newborn babies. Anyone who’s pregnant and comes into contact with a person who has chickenpox should see a doctor immediately unless they have been vaccinated against chickenpox or, indeed, have had the disease themselves.

Key Information on:

Dr Jack Singer - London Paediatrician

The Portland HospitalBUPA Cromwell HospitalKing Edward VII's HospitalSevenoaks Medical Centre - A London Bridge HospitalParkside HospitalHarley Street Paediatric GroupHCA Healthcare UK at The Shard