Medical Q&As

Chicken pox - child contact? ?

My four year old was in contact on Monday with a child who developed chicken pox spots the very next day. How should I treat her and do I need to keep her off school. I have two younger children at home.

Chicken pox is highly infectious so there is a possibility that your child will also develop the infection. Since the incubation period can last up to three weeks you will not know if your child is in the clear for another couple of weeks. The incubation period is that latent phase when the virus is incubating in the child before the rash and other symptoms develop. From a practical point of view there is nothing you can do in the meantime in terms of treatment. There is no treatment that will prevent the illness once the virus is in her system. It is not necessary to keep your daughter out of school unless she should develop the infection. If she does develop chicken pox it is quite likely that your two other children will also develop it. To learn more about this infection you might like to read our special feature on chicken pox, which you can access through the following link: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=24.