What is chickenpox? What are the symptoms?

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What is chickenpox? What are the symptoms?
Zurich International School
Steinacherstrasse 140
8820 Wädenswil
Switzerland
Date: 13/04/15
T +41 58 750 2590
F +41 58 750 22 01
www.zis.ch
Dear Parents,
Over the Easter Holidays there have been a number of confirmed chickenpox cases throughout various grades in the
Lower School.
What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a viral illness. The chickenpox virus is also called varicella virus or varicella zoster virus. It is the same
virus that can cause shingles, which usually occurs later in life.
What are the symptoms?
Chickenpox can often start with the following symptoms:
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a fever
a headache
a runny nose
a cough
loss of appetite
feeling tired
A red rash follows 1 to 2 days later. It usually starts on the face and scalp, spreads to the chest, back and tummy and
then to the arms and legs. It can also appear inside the ears, on the eyelids, inside the nose and mouth, and even
around the genital area. The rash continues to spread for 3 or 4 days and usually becomes very itchy. Some children
develop a lot of spots whilst others may only develop a few.
Within a few hours after each spot appears, a blister forms and may appear full of yellow fluid. After a day or so, the
fluid turns cloudy. The blisters release liquid containing the virus, then form crusts or scabs that fall off after 1 to 2
weeks. The spots heal at different stages, some faster than others, so your child may have the rash at several
different stages at once.
ZIS is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
ZIS is an IB World School.
How chickenpox is spread
Chickenpox is very easy to catch and is highly contagious. The chickenpox virus spreads through the air (by coughing
and sneezing) and by direct contact with mucus, saliva, or liquid from blisters. You can catch the chickenpox virus
from touching clothing or other objects that have the blister liquid on them. The incubation period is the time from
when your child comes into contact with a person with chickenpox, to when the first symptoms appear. The incubation
period for chickenpox is usually 14 to 16 days but can range from 10 to 21 days. A child is infectious 1-2 days before
they get the rash until all the blisters have dried up which usually takes 5 to 7 days.
Should your child stay at home?
If your child has chickenpox then they should stay away from school, and public places, while they are infectious.
Once all the spots have formed scabs, your child is no longer infectious. They may come back to school when the
spots are all scabbed over and dry. This can take around 5-7 days.
Caring for your child at home
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Make sure your child drinks plenty of water
You can use a soothing lotion such as calamine lotion on the spots which may help relieve the itching
Trim nails short and consider using mittens or clean socks to decrease the risk of infection from scratching,
especially overnight
Give your child a cool or lukewarm bath every 3–4 hours but do not use soap. Try adding oatmeal, baking
soda or moisturizing bath lotion to the water. Pat skin dry, do not rub, after bathing
Dress your child in loose fitting clothing and change the bed linen daily
If blisters are in the mouth and throat affect drinking and eating, offer clear cool drinks and soft bland foods;
avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juices
If your child has eczema, and the above steps are not controlling the itching, or if you feel that the spots are
becoming infected, then please contact your Doctor.
If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Kindest regards,
LS Nurses: Tina Pickering and Mary Thomas
(058 750 2222)
MS & ECC Nurses: Erika Lang & Abigail Morgan (058 750 2322)
Baden Nurse: Annika Hansson
(058 750 2294)
US Nurses: Helma van Vliet & Abigail Morgan (058 750 2422)
Websites:
http://www.nhs.uk/
http://www.cdc.gov/ http://kidshealth.org/
[email protected] & [email protected]
[email protected] & [email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] & [email protected]

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