How Can You Catch Chicken Pox?
Published: 17th November, 2022
Chicken pox is a common illness that most of us will catch at some point. Although it mainly affects children, you can get it at any age. If you haven't had chicken pox before and someone in your household gets it, it's likely you'll catch it too.
For most people, chicken pox isn’t dangerous. However, the infection may be more serious if you’re elderly, have a weakened immune system, or are pregnant. Keep reading to find out more information on the virus, including the symptoms, the cause, and how many times you can catch chicken pox.
What Causes Chicken Pox?
Chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Around 90% of people who have not previously had chicken pox will become infected when they come into contact with the virus. You can catch it at any time, but it’s especially common in the spring months and is most frequently seen in children under 10.
How Can You Catch Chicken Pox?
Chicken pox is highly contagious, and can be caught by being within proximity of someone who has the virus. It's spread easily through the air when you cough or sneeze, or if you touch infected surfaces or blisters.
When is Chicken Pox Contagious?
You can spread chicken pox to other people from two days before your spots appear until they have all formed scabs (around five days after your spots appeared). Vaccinated people who get chicken pox may develop lesions that don’t scab. These people are considered contagious until no new lesions have appeared for 24 hours.
How to Treat Chicken Pox at Home
If you catch chicken pox, you’ll need to stay home from school, work or nursery until the spots have formed a scab. Chicken pox can usually be treated at home, and helpful chicken pox remedies include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Using cooling gels or creams from a pharmacy
- Dressing in loose clothes
- Bathing in cool water
- Cut your child’s fingernails to prevent them from scratching
- Taking paracetamol to help with pain and discomfort
Chicken pox should clear up by itself after one or two weeks. You should speak to a GP if you’re concerned about your child, or if you’re not sure whether it’s chicken pox.
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How Many Times Can You Catch Chicken Pox?
It is possible to get chicken pox more than once, but it’s unusual. When you get chicken pox, the virus stays in your body, remaining dormant. However, it can be triggered again if your immune system is weak. This causes an illness called shingles.
Shingles results in a painful rash of blisters that cover one side of the face or body, and typically last about three weeks. It’s not possible to catch shingles from someone with chicken pox, but you can catch chicken pox from someone who has shingles if you have not had chicken pox before.
The Chicken Pox Vaccine
Weldricks is proud to offer the chicken pox vaccine to protect vulnerable groups and those at risk from the virus. The course consists of two doses, and once you have completed the two-dose course, you won’t need further boosters.
How Does the Chicken Pox Vaccine Work?
The vaccine works by protecting people from varicella zoster, the infectious disease that causes chicken pox. There are currently two vaccines available, which are the VARIVAX and VARILRIX chicken pox jab.
The vaccine contains weakened versions of the virus that causes the disease. Through vaccination, your immune system learns how to fight the virus much more quickly than it would if you were to catch and then treat it.
It is estimated that over 90% of children who receive both chicken pox vaccine doses acquire a lifetime immunity to chicken pox.
Book your Chicken Pox Vaccine Today
We’ve discussed how you can catch chicken pox, as well as the stages and symptoms of chicken pox, and home remedies you can use. Children and adults who are in regular or close contact with someone who has chicken pox should be vaccinated against it.
Find your nearest pharmacy offering the vaccine, and book your appointment today. After agreeing on a date, you will have your first dose. Our pharmacist will then book you in for the second dose a minimum of six weeks later - and then you’re done, it’s as easy as that.