Herpes zoster virus
Chickenpox is usually mild and passes without causing any serious problems, particularly in children.
But sometimes complications can occur.
These are more common in:
Some of the main risks associated with chickenpox are outlined below.
The most commoncomplication of chickenpox is theskin becoming infected with bacteria. This is more likely to happen if you or your child scratches your spots.
The skin may be infected if it becomes:
Contact your GP ifyou think youror yourchild's blisters have become infected. You may need antibiotics to treat the infection.
Occasionally, the chickenpox virus can spread to the lungs and cause pneumonia .
This is more common in adults (particularly those who smoke), pregnant women andpeople with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of pneumonia can include:
Contactyour GP as soon as possible if you think you or your child may have developed pneumonia. You may need to be treated in hospital.
In rare cases, chickenpox can lead to more serious infections of the brain and spinal cord in children,people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.
This can cause:
Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you or your child develops any of these symptoms after having chickenpox. Treatment in hospital will usually be needed.
If you become infected with chickenpox for the first time while you're pregnant, there is a smallrisk of potentially serious complications affecting your baby.
The risks depend on when you pick up the infection.
Contact your GP as soon as possible if you're pregnant or have given birth recently and you think you have chickenpox or have been exposed to someone with the infection.
Your GP cando a blood test to check if you're already immune to the infection and can arrange for you to have stronger treatments to prevent a severe infection.
Find out all you need know about chickenpox, including what the symptoms are, how to treat it and when to get medical advice.
Find out about the main symptoms and stages of chickenpox.
Find out how to treat chickenpox at home.