Chickenpox awareness

You might have read our post a while back on Chickenpox: Being prepared  – if not, you can read it here.

The first ever Chickenpox Awareness Week will take place from 4th – 10th May this year. Supported by Care, the number one brand sold into UK pharmacy and makers of ViraSoothe Chickenpox Relief Cooling Gel and Spray Gel.

Chickenpox Awareness Week aims to raise awareness and help better inform parents about the chickenpox virus and how best to manage and treat the condition.

chicken pox

Research shows nine out of 10 children in the UK will catch chickenpox, most of them before the age of four. Caused by the highly contagious virus, varicella-zoster, chickenpox results in a number of very unpleasant symptoms including an itchy rash, spots and blisters. The resulting scratching can lead to further infections, sleepless nights and permanent scarring.

Research has found that scratching and scarring are two of the top concerns for parents when it comes to chickenpox. With over half saying they worry about their children scratching, and 38 per cent saying they are concerned about spots scarring.

BBC Health Correspondent and family GP Dr Sarah Jarvis says: “Chickenpox spreads quickly through coughs and sneezes of someone who is infected and although symptoms tend to be mild, chickenpox is incredibly itchy which can be very distressing for both parent and child.”

Parents can have a number of health concerns when it comes to chickenpox, therefore, they need to make sure they are getting the best expert advice. Here Dr Jarvis busts some of the common misconceptions about the illness:

Chickenpox myths revealed:

• If my child has chickenpox I should take them to the GP straightaway

MYTH. “Chickenpox in children is usually a mild disease that gets better in a few days without the need to see a GP. If you feel confident your child’s symptoms are chickenpox contact your pharmacist by telephone or visit your local chemist without your child to prevent infecting vulnerable members of the public. However, if your child is under four weeks old, has breathing difficulties, chest pains, if they become very drowsy or wobbly on their legs, can’t take fluids because the rash in their mouth is severe, have a rash which bleeds or bruises under the skin, become more and more unwell or the skin blisters have become infected and look yellow or pus-filled, it is important to seek medical advice.”

• Deliberately exposing my child to the virus at a chickenpox party is a good idea

MYTH. “Research has shown that 1 in 8 parents said they would consider deliberately exposing their child to chickenpox in order to get the illness “out of the way”2. Most doctors agree this is not a good idea! Imagine if your child was the 1 in 1,000 who was admitted to hospital with complications and you had deliberately exposed them. Parents should allow their child to experience the illness naturally.”

• Giving my child aspirin will help with any discomfort and reduce their fever

MYTH. “There is no child safe version of aspirin and it should never be given to a child under 16 years old. Instead try Care Infant Paracetamol Suspension (100ml, £2.45 from independent pharmacies nationwide), which reduces fever and provides pain relief.” Ibuprofen medicines such as Care Ibuprofen for children are very effective for many childhood complaints, but it’s best to avoid any form of ibuprofen in children with chickenpox

• Calamine lotion helps to ease the chickenpox itch

MYTH. “There is no clinical evidence to suggest that calamine lotion does anything to relieve the symptoms of chickenpox. Calamine lotion offers a momentary cooling effect as the liquid evaporates from the skin. However, this drying effect may exacerbate the condition and actually cause further itching. Consider using Care ViraSoothe Chickenpox Relief Cooling Gel or Spray Gel to cool the skin and relieve itching.”

• My child has been ill for five days and is still getting spots, this is not normal

MYTH. “It is completely normal for children to acquire more spots for about 7 days. The initial fever often starts a day or so before the spots come out and usually starts to settle after about three days. The spots will scab over and dry up, but may take 2 weeks to go away completely. Complications are very rare in a healthy child but if you are at all worried you should consult a doctor.”

For more information about Chickenpox Awareness Week please visit OR Facebook at

What is your experience? Have your children had chickenpox or are they yet to have it? We have two who have had it and two yet to have it!

Mums' Days

11 comments on 'Chickenpox awareness'

  • I suffered from a really bad bout of Chickenpox last year and ended up in hospital, so can totally relate to this post. Thanks for the advice and sharing on #TheList

    • Hi Baby Isabella,
      I am an independent filmmaker looking for people whose children have had serious complications of Chicken Pox (varicella).
      We want to ensure more parents understand how severe varicella can be, and the impact this could have on their child.
      We know that parents, especially mothers, talk to, rely upon and listen to the experiences of others like themselves. Our aim is to develop a series of short videos of parents talking about their experiences and views on varicella – how they perceived the disease, they managed it, what they think about it and what they would say to another parent. We also want to talk to, and hear from adults whose lives have been affected by the complications of varicella.
      The videos would be a resource for anyone searching for information or guidance on childhood diseases, especially varicella. The videos will be hosted within communication channels such as YouTube.
      The interview would only take about 15 minutes and then we’d spend some time filming you walking about, making a cup of tea or reading a book to get some mood shots. The interview will only be about you and your experience so we won’t film or show images of your child.

      The film is entirely non-promotional and we can’t mention vaccines or any specific treatments.

      Is this something you would wish to participate in? If so please do let me know.

      Warmest regards,

      Genevieve Robson
      131-151 Great Titchfield Street
      London W1W 5BB, United Kingdom
      M: +44 (0)7850 446 520

  • Very interesting about the calamine – I always believed that as well so it’s nice to know there’s another alternative! I have vivid memories of being slathered in the stuff when I had chicken pox as a little kid. #TheList

    • The piriton I used with my two older children and that worked a treat – I haven’t heard of the oat baths though so thanks for sharing the tip :)

  • Some useful information here, as I’m sure we’ll have to deal with it sooner or later. I wonder how you make an oat bath? Incidentally, is it true you can only get chickenpox once? I’d always believed that but I recently heard otherwise.

    • From what I have read I think there are some occasions when this has happened but I think It only applies when someone has had a very mild dose first time around. I think it is rare to catch it twice and I don’t think it has been proven. Thanks for reading :)

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