Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection in which a person develops extremely itchy blisters all over the body and it is common childhood disease caused by a virus in the herpes family of viruses called the varicella virus. The varicella virus can remain in the body for decades and become active again in adults, causing herpes zoster (shingles). Shingles involves the occurrence of painful skin sores along the distribution of nerves across the trunk or face.
There are several things that can be done at home to help relieve the symptoms and prevent skin infections. Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching. Keeping fingernails trimmed short may help prevent skin infections caused by scratching blisters.
Sources of Chickenpox infection
Direct contact with skin sores or breathing in the varicella virus by being around someone with chickenpox who is coughing or sneezing.
A person with chickenpox can spread the virus for 1 to 2 days before the rash appears and until all the blisters have formed scabs.
Chickenpox, also called varicella, is a highly infectious disease which is very common in the UK. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Most people in the UK catch chickenpox as children and do not suffer any long-term effects, although about one in four adults are then at risk of developing shingles later in life. In rare cases, the effects of chickenpox can be much more serious (for example in pregnancy, in people with immune system problems or on chemotherapy), but with good medical care most people survive. Very occasionally the disease results in death, but the number of deaths in the UK is low (an average of around 20 a year).