Most of us don’t need the chickenpox vaccine as we would have caught this virus as a child. Chickenpox is a common childhood illness and is relatively mild however it is extremely contagious. Chickenpox as an adult is more serious and that’s why the chickenpox vaccine is important.
Chickenpox starts as a cold with a runny nose and perhaps a cough. But a rash will appear a day or two later.
The rash is typically concentrated on the chest, back and face but can spread to the entire body. A low fever of around 38C is also common and well as a loss of appetite and generally feeling unwell.
Chickenpox is contagious from two days before the rash appears until about 5 days after they first appeared and have crusted over.
If you did not have chickenpox as a child or if you have not had the chickenpox vaccine, you are highly likely to catch chickenpox from an infected person.
However, it can take up to three weeks after contact for your symptoms to start.
You can catch chickenpox from someone who has shingles. However, you cannot catch shingles from someone who has chickenpox.
Who Is At Risk?
Chickenpox in adults
Catching chickenpox as an adult is more serious than catching it as a child. Adults who catch chickenpox will typically experience similar but more severe symptoms such as:
– Fever and headaches
– Body aches
– Fatigue and loss of appetite
– Itchy rash and seeping blisters
– Chickenpox in adults can lead to complications that require admission to hospitalisation and even death. These complications include:
– Toxic shock syndrome
Your risk of catching chickenpox as an adult is higher if you come into contact with children under 12 – such as working in a school. The chickenpox vaccine is, therefore, a good option for keeping yourself safe.
Shingles is a condition caused by the same virus that affects older adults who’ve previously had chickenpox. You can read about it on our shingles vaccine page.
The chickenpox vaccine protects against the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that causes chickenpox and shingles. Most people who experience chickenpox as a child will have immunity to the disease. However, if you did not have chickenpox as a child, you may wish to have the chickenpox vaccine.
The chickenpox vaccine can also be given to children in some circumstances, such as if a parent is going through chemotherapy and their immune system is weakened.
You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist about whether the chickenpox vaccine is for you.
£65 per dose, 2 doses