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Chicken Pox


Chicken pox is a highly contagious infection that is caused by a virus known as the Varicella-Zoster virus. Chicken pox is generally spread from person to person via coughing or direct contact with the blisters that form with chicken pox. Before vaccinations were introduced in 2005, chicken pox was quite a common illness in Australia.



The symptoms that you may develop with chicken pox generally occur two weeks after you have been exposed to the virus. These symptoms can include:

  • a slight fever,
  • a general feeling of being unwell, and
  • an itchy skin rash that starts as small lumps that will eventually turn into blisters.


If a child contracts chicken pox it will generally only cause mild symptoms. However, if an adult or pregnant woman develops chicken pox, symptoms can be more severe.



The best management strategy you can implement to reduce the chances of contracting chicken pox is to get vaccinated. These are available free for:

  • children at 18 months,
  • year 7 students (aged 12-13 years) who are offered the vaccination at school, and
  • children up to and including 9 years of age are offered catch up vaccinations if they have not yet been fully vaccinated.


It is recommended to get a chicken pox vaccination if you have not previously had chicken pox and have not been vaccinated.


This is particularly important for the following groups of people:

  • women prior to pregnancy,
  • parents of young children,
  • people who may live with someone who has impaired immunity, and
  • health professionals, teachers and childcare workers.


If you have contracted chicken pox, treatment of your chicken pox will provide you with some options to relieve your symptoms. These treatment options include:

  • bed rest,
  • increasing your fluid consumption to prevent dehydration,
  • some forms of pain relief may help to reduce your fever, and
  • a cream may be applied to your skin to reduce the itchiness of your blisters.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel

New South Wales Government Health