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Chickenpox is common and mostly affects children, although you can get it at any age. It usually gets better by itself within a week without needing to see a GP.

Chickenpox starts with red spots, they can appear anywhere on the body. The spots fill with fluid and the blisters may burst. They might spread or stay in a small area.The spots scab over. More blisters might appear while others scab over.

If you or your child has Chickenpox, you’ll need to stay away from school, nursery or work until all the spots have crusted over. This is usually 5 days after the spots first appeared.

You can help relieve symptoms by:

  • drinking plenty of fluid (try ice lollies if your child isn’t drinking) to avoid dehydration
  • taking paracetamol to help with pain and discomfort
  • putting socks on your child’s hands at night to stop scratching
  • cutting your child’s nails
  • using cooling creams or gels from your pharmacy
  • bathing in cool water and pat the skin dry (don’t rub)
  • dressing in loose clothes

Make sure you don’t:

  • use ibuprofen unless advised to do so by your doctor, as it may cause serious skin infections
  • give aspirin to children under 16
  • be around pregnant women, newborn babies and people with a weakened immune system, as it can be dangerous for them

Speak to a GP if:

  • you’re not sure it’s chickenpox
  • the skin around the blisters is red, hot or painful (signs of infection)
  • your child is dehydrated
  • you’re concerned about your child or they get worse

Tell the receptionist you think it’s chickenpox before going in. They may recommend a special appointment time if other patients are at risk.

Ask for an urgent GP Appointment if:

  • you’re an adult and have chickenpox
  • you’re pregnant and haven’t had chickenpox before and have been near someone with it
  • you have a weakened immune system and have been near someone with chickenpox
  • you think your newborn baby has chickenpox

In these situations, your GP can prescribe medicine to prevent complications. You need to take it within 24 hours of the spots coming out.