Chicken Pox (Varicella): Chicken pox is a common illness that causes an itchy rash and red spots or blisters all over the body. It is most common in children but most people will get chicken pox at some point in their lives if they have not had the chicken pox vaccine. Chicken pox can cause problems for pregnant women, newborns, teens and adults. It also affects people who have a low immune system as it is hard for the body to fight the infection.
Chicken pox usually is not a serious health problem in healthy children. But a child with chicken pox needs to stay home from school. After you have had chicken pox, you are not likely to get it again. But the virus stays in your body long after you get over the illness. If the virus becomes active again, it can cause a painful viral infection called shingles.
Chicken pox is caused by a virus which can spread easily. You can get it from an infected person who sneezes, coughs or shares food or drinks. You can also get it if you touch the fluid from a chicken pox blister. A person who has chicken pox can spread the virus even before he or she has any symptoms. Chicken pox is most easily spread from 2 - 3 days before the rash appears.
For most children, chickenpox is a mild illness that gets better on its own. However, some children can become more seriously ill with chickenpox and need to see a doctor. Contact your doctor straight away if your child develops any abnormal symptoms, such as: if the blisters on their skin become infected; or if your child has a pain in their chest or has difficulty breathing.