NHS Service

How Long Is Chickenpox Contagious For?

Understanding the contagious period of chickenpox

Chickenpox was once one of the most common and contagious childhood diseases. Just about everyone missed several days of school while they went through the uncomfortable, itchy rash chickenpox causes. Thanks to the widely available chickenpox vaccination, children and adults no longer need to experience the miserable virus.

How Does Chickenpox Spread?

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is highly contagious. The virus easily spreads from person to person through direct contact and through water droplets caused by coughing or sneezing.

Once a person is exposed, they will start to experience symptoms within 1-3 weeks. The first noticeable symptom of chickenpox is the tell-tale rash. Some people may also feel tired and generally unwell in the days leading up to the rash.

The rash occurs in three stages and it’s not uncommon for all three stages to exist at the same time. First, the rash appears as raised bumps or papules. They then turn into small blisters filled with fluid. Around a day later, these blisters will burst and leak before they crust over and scab.

The rash is also contagious and people can become infected by coming into contact with it.

How Long is Chickenpox Contagious?

One of the reasons chickenpox is so contagious is that people can spread it before they even know they are ill. Chickenpox becomes contagious in the 48 hours prior to the rash developing. It will remain contagious until every broken blister has fully healed and crusted over.

It’s rare to experience chickenpox more than once. However, people who haven’t had chickenpox are at a higher risk of catching it if they are exposed to the virus. The illness is usually mild in children but can become very serious in adults, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. The chickenpox vaccination is recommended to anyone who’s never contracted the virus, especially if they fall into more vulnerable groups.

Where Can I Get the Chickenpox Vaccination?

The highly effective chickenpox vaccination is recommended for anyone between the ages of 9 months and 65 years of age. It should only be given to those who haven’t had chickenpox previously.

Convenient chickenpox vaccination appointments in Northampton and Sydenham can be arranged at Touchwood Pharmacy. It will give you enhanced protection against the highly contagious virus. Click here to book your chickenpox vaccination in Ramsgate and Streatham.