ABPI - Resources for Schools

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Infectious diseases - diseases

Age range 11-14 Age range 14-16 Age range 16-19


Chicken pox is a relatively mild viral disease which is very infectious. Anyone can get it but it is most common in children under the age of 10. Up to 90% of the UK population get chickpox at some point before they are grown up! After chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the nervous tissue and it can be reactivated in adults to cause shingles.

If a pregnant woman gets chickpox it can cause serious problems for both her and her unborn child.

child with chickenpox

Chickenpox is unpleasant but not usually life threatening


An itchy rash which then forms blisters which crust over and heal. It can also cause general tiredness, lethargy, aching etc.


Chickenpox is viral and so is more difficult to treat than a bacterial or fungal infection. Painkillers and soothing lotions can reduce the symptoms and, in severe cases antiviral medicine such as acyclovir can be used to reduce the severity of the infection.

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