Three facts that parents need to know about chickenpox.
Chickenpox is a well-known childhood virus but there is a lot of misinformation out there. Read on to learn what parents need to know about the chickenpox virus.
Chickenpox Is Very Contagious
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and it is very contagious. The virus easily spreads from an infected person to others around them who do not have immunity to the virus. A person does not have immunity to the virus if they have never had it before or if they have never been vaccinated for chickenpox. It is estimated that up to 90% of people without immunity to the virus, that are around an infected person, will also become infected. Chickenpox is primarily spread by close contact with a person who is infected.
Chickenpox is contagious 1 to 2 days before rash onset until all the chickenpox lesions have scabbed. Chickenpox usually develops 10 to 21 days after exposure. Most people have immunity to chickenpox after they have had it once but it is possible to get it more than once.
The Best Method for Preventing Chickenpox Is Getting The Chickenpox Vaccine
The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine. The vaccine consists of two doses that are given at least four weeks apart. The vaccine is considered both safe and effective in preventing the virus. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, the symptoms and severity of the virus is usually mild.
Chickenpox Can Be Serious
Although many people recover from chickenpox with no complications, the virus can be serious. Possible complications from chickenpox include bleeding problems, dehydration, and infections of the skin, lungs, blood, and brain. These complications are not common in healthy people but could be an issue for high-risk populations such as infants, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Although rare, death due to chickenpox complications is possible, especially in people who are not vaccinated against chickenpox.
To learn more about the chickenpox virus visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website by clicking here.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, October 21). About chickenpox. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 26, 2023