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Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is characterised by a rash of itchy, fluid-filled blisters that appear on the skin.

Infants, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people are at risk of more severe disease and have a higher incidence of complications

The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get vaccinated.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The sooner the better. The vaccine will provide a level protection from the first dose

There are several clinical studies which indicate that people vaccinated against varicella had antibodies for at least 10 to 20 years after vaccination.

Adults and Children from 12 months: 2 doses, at least 4 weeks apart

Children 9 to 12 months: 2 doses, at least 12 weeks apart

Children 12 months to 12 years with HIV: 2 doses, at least 12 weeks apart

Boosters are not required for chickenpox vaccination

Adverse effects associated with this vaccination are fever, injection site reactions, and rash. It is advisable to stay away from vulnerable contacts after vaccinations.

Children from the age of 9 months can receive the vaccination 

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The chickenpox vaccine is highly effective at preventing chickenpox and can also reduce the severity of the disease if a person does become infected.

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Symptoms of chickenpox typically begin 10-21 days after exposure to the virus and may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rash that starts as small, red bumps and develops into itchy blisters

Complications of chickenpox can include bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues, pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and Reye’s syndrome (a rare but potentially fatal condition that affects the liver and brain).

Chickenpox is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching an open blister.

There is a vaccine available for chickenpox, which is given as a two-dose series to children. The vaccine is highly effective at preventing chickenpox and can also reduce the severity of the disease if a person does become infected.

Treatment for chickenpox includes relieving symptoms such as itching and fever. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever and pain. Calamine lotion or baking soda baths may be used to relieve itching.

It is important to keep the infected person away from others, especially pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems, as they are at a higher risk of serious complications.

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