Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus. In some children the illness will start with a fever or feeling unwell, but in others the rash will appear first. The spots usually start on the chest as red, itchy lumps. These will become fluid-filled blisters, which will burst and form a crust.
Chickenpox is very contagious and is spread when the person sneezes or coughs or when someone comes in contact with the fluid from one the blisters. Your child should have had the chickenpox vaccination at 18 months of age. Vaccination is the best way to avoid chickenpox, so make sure that your child is up-to-date with his or her vaccinations.
If your child does contract chickenpox, keep him or her home from school for at least five days after the first spots appear, and until after all blisters are dry. Give your child plenty of fluids and paracetamol or ibuprofen, if needed. If blisters are in the mouth, try a soothing mouth wash and don’t give foods high in acid or salt. Soothing lotions or oils for the bath can help the itch.
Diagnosis should be confirmed by a doctor as chickenpox is a notifiable disease (it must be reported). Please make sure the school is informed if the doctor diagnosis chickenpox.
Contact your local Community Health Nurse, Julie-Anne Jones by email - firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or see the fact sheet at www.public.health.wa.gov.au/