Chickenpox is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus. It is transmitted by person-to-person contact or through air by coughing or sneezing.
The most common symptoms of chickenpox are rash, fever, coughing, headache and loss of appetite. The rash usually develops in the scalp and torso and then spreads to the face, arms and legs. The rash first appears as small, itchy, red bumps which turn into blisters, emerging in several successive “crops.” Chickenpox lasts about five to ten days. You are asked to keep your child out of the school until all blisters are dried and crusted over.
Most cases of chickenpox are treated with bed rest, fluids and control of fever. Do not give your child aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for reducing fever due to the possibility of Reye’s syndrome or other complications. Contact your health care provider for more information about medicines to control your child’s fever and if further treatment is needed for serious cases of chickenpox.
A vaccine to prevent chickenpox is available. The vaccine is recommended for all non-immune, healthy persons over 12 months of age. The vaccine may also prevent illness or reduce the severity of chickenpox if given within three days of exposure to a person with chickenpox.
If you have further questions concerning chickenpox, consult your health care provider or contact Whitman County Health Department at (509) 397-6280 or (509) 332-6752