Chickenpox is a classic childhood disease caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus. It is highly contagious and spreads through the air from an infected person’s coughing and sneezing or by direct contact with fluid from the blisters. Once a person has recovered from an infection, he is usually immune from further episodes of the disease.

Patients who may develop serious complications when exposed to chickenpox – like pregnant women and premature infants – are given VZIG (Varicella-Zoster-Immunoglobin) with 96 hours of exposure. This helps to prevent the development of chickenpox and reduces the risk for further complications.

Symptoms: Most children show minor symptoms, such as a fever, headache, tummy ache, and loss of appetite for a day or two before breaking out in a rash of red spots. Blisters then form over the red spots, first on the face trunk or scalp and continue to spread over the body. After a day or two they turn cloudy and then scab. Generally, most blisters do not leave scars unless they are scratched and may then be contaminated by bacteria.

Treatment: These include antiviral medications such as Acyclovir. Paracetamol may be given for relief of pain and fever.

Prevention: Vaccinations for chickpox are available locally at major healthcare centres and clinics. It is also offered as part of your child’s immunisation package, although it is not compulsory to be vaccinated against chickenpox.

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IndiaNational Health Portal