Chickenpox is a viral infection that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. While it is a common infection and usually harmless, it may cause complications in infants as they have an impaired immune system.
Once your child has had chickenpox, they are unlikely to get it again. However, on rare occasions, your child may develop shingles in the future.
Chickenpox symptoms tend to start within 10 - 21 days of exposure to someone else who is infected. Signs include:
Generally, healthy children experience mild symptoms of chickenpox. In severe cases, there may be lesions in the eyes, mouth, throat, genital and anal openings.
Chickenpox rashes change appearance over time in 3 stages:
As new bumps will come out for several days, your child may experience all 3 stages at the same time.
Your child can spread the chickenpox virus for up to 48 hours before the rashes appear. The virus will remain contagious.
Risk factors that contribute to chickenpox include:
In addition, your child may face an increased risk of contracting chickenpox if they:
You can vaccinate your child against the varicella virus from the age of 1 year.
If your child has not been exposed to chickenpox or been vaccinated before, the best way to protect your child is to keep them away from people who have active chickenpox.