These links will take you to NZ Health sites which give current information about childhood illnesses.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus in the winter and spring months in New Zealand. It is one of many viruses that cause infections of the respiratory tract - the parts of the body related to breathing. Most older children have symptoms similar to a cold. Some babies and young children become seriously ill and need hospital care.
Chickenpox (varicella) is a very contagious (catching) disease. It causes small itchy blisters on your skin.
Chickenpox is very itchy. Sometimes children scratch the blisters and they can become infected. If this happens, you’ll need to take them to the doctor.
Very occasionally chickenpox can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, problems with the kidneys, heart, joints or nervous system. Chickenpox is also serious for pregnant women.
If there are no complications, chickenpox usually clears up within 3–7 days for adults, and 5–10 days for children.
Once you’ve had chickenpox, you’re probably immune – this means your body can fight it off and you won’t get sick again. If you’ve had a very mild case of chickenpox with just a few blisters, it’s possible to get it again, but this is very rare.
How is it spread?
The virus is spread through the air by infected people when they sneeze or cough, and by touching the chickenpox blisters then touching objects or other people.
The illness starts 10–21 days after being exposed.
Stop chickenpox spreading
Chickenpox is contagious from 1–2 days before the blisters appear. Avoid close contact with other people, stay home from work and keep children home from school and early childhood education centres for 1 week from the appearance of the rash until all blisters have dried.
Remember: chickenpox is serious for pregnant women and people who are have a reduced immune response (eg, children with cancer).
The chickenpox virus is spread through the air by infected people when they sneeze or cough.
- Always turn away from others and use tissues when you cough or sneeze.
- Always wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
Chickenpox can also spread through touching the blisters and then touching objects or other people.
- Wash your hands often, especially if you’re the caregiver of a child with chickenpox – and make sure they do the same.
- Discourage children from scratching the blisters.
- Symptoms(active tab)
People with chickenpox have small blisters (like a rash) on their skin.
These can be very itchy.
Other symptoms of chickenpox are:
- general aches and pains.
How long chickenpox lasts
If there are no complications:
- adults generally have the chickenpox infection for 3–7 days
- children are usually ill for about 5–10 days.
Teenagers and adults are more likely to have complications or feel sicker from chickenpox than children.