Chicken pox is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It is a mild and common childhood illness that most children catch at some point. Some children have only a few spots, but other children can have spots that cover their entire body. These are most likely to appear on the face, ears and scalp, under the arms, on the chest and belly and on the arms and legs.
It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.
Chicken pox spots normally appear in clusters and tend to be:
- Behind the ears
- On the face and over the scalp
- On the chest and belly
- On the arms and legs
Before the rash appears, you or your child may have some mild flu-like symptoms, including:
- Nausea, or feeling sick
- A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over
- Painful, aching muscles
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent chicken pox. Currently, 2 doses of vaccine are recommended for children, adolescents, and adults.
While no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease, the chickenpox vaccine is very effective. About 8 to 9 out of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chicken pox.
In addition, the vaccine almost always prevents severe disease. If a vaccinated person does get chicken pox, it is usually a very mild case lasting only a few days and involving fewer skin blisters (usually less than 50), mild or no fever, and few other symptoms.
Women should have a blood test to check if they are immune to chickenpox, before their first pregnancy. Click here for more information about our pre-pregnancy screening tests.
Have a look at our pricing table for more information about the other tests which are available.
Two vaccinations are administered with an 8 week gap between doses.