Chicken Pox (Varicella Zoster)

Symptoms

Initially: a mild headache, moderate fever, clear runny nose & generalized aching.  A rash appears in stages:
1. Macule (flat, red spot)
2. Vesicle (fluid-filled, elevated lesion)
3. Crusting
The rash usually appears first on the trunk and later on the face, neck, arms, and legs; and is associated with intense itching.

Incubation Period

10-21 days, usually 14-16 days

Mode of Transmission & Communicability

The virus is spread by direct contact with discharges from the infected person's nose, mouth, skin, and mucous membrane.  Children on immunosuppressive drugs have a higher risk of contracting chicken pox.  Communicable 1-2 days before onset of symptoms until all of the vesicles have crusted.  One episode or vaccination usually confers immunity; however, children who have received the varicella vaccine can still develop chickenpox (usually a milder case).

School Action

 

1. Exclude from school until all vesicles are dry and crusted (Usually 6 days after the rash begins).

2. Treatment consists of frequent cleansing of the skin, over the counter medications for itching and Tylenol for fever and discomfort.

3. Contact your healthcare provider for secondary infection of the lesion or other complications.

4. Ensure all school-aged children have had 2 varicella vaccines.