Each year chickenpox continues to spread across UK schools, and this year is no different.
However, the previous two years of coronavirus restrictions and lockdown mean this year could be particularly bad for children.
When is the usual chickenpox season?
The childhood illness is usually most common as winter ends and Spring begins, with the months between March and May usually given as the times when peaks occur in the UK.
Why could this year’s chickenpox season be worse than in previous years?
Over 2020 and 2021, the majority of chickenpox season has been over lockdowns or some form of social distancing rules, meaning it has been difficult for the illness to spread throughout children, resulting in a large amount of kids across the UK who are not yet immune.
The common concept of immunity to chickenpox once a child has had it is true, and therefore more children across the UK are at risk of picking it up after being kept away from it for the last two years.
What are the symptoms of chickenpox?
Chickenpox is easily identifiable through spots appearing on the skin of children. These can be found anywhere on the body including the inside of the mouth.
These spots will then become blisters, which could evolve into scabs.
Other symptoms include a high temperature, aches and pains, general illness and a loss of appetite.
How can chickenpox be treated?
Until the spots have become scabs, it is recommended anyone with chickenpox should stay at home. This usually takes five days. During this time anyone with the illness should remain hydrated and take paracetamol to assist with pain and discomfort.
In order to assist with the spots, loose clothing should be worn in addition to the use of cooling creams and bathing in cool water.
The spots should not be scratched and anyone infected should not go near newborn infants, people who are pregnant or those with a weakened immune system as these groups are more at risk of developing issues from an initial infection.