Chicken pox


Cause: Herpes virus varicella zoster

Spread by: droplet and touch. This means coughing talking, breathing or sneezing over an uninfected person could spread the virus

Immunisation available: Yes

Notifiable disease: Yes

Infection duration: 10 - 21 days

Incubation time: Incubation between 10 - 21 days after exposure and infectious 1-2 days before the rash develops

Long term – Chicken pox can re occur in rare occasions, scarring might happen where the blisters are. 

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the chicken pox virus but is not contagious unless there is contact with the blister fluid. SHingles can happens many years later as te herpes virus remains dormant.


Starting off with slightly elevated temperature (over 38'c) headache and possibly sore throat.

General feeling of lethargy, flu,normally starts with a small red area / blister on the body which then rapidly becomes a blistered rash in the next 2-4 days. Blisters are filled with fluid and easily burst. The person is infectious until all the blisters have disappeared, including the scabs/ crusts which appear. Patients should be kept in isolation until blisters and scabs have disappeared. 

Itchy scabs/blisters which appear in clusters


  • Immunisation
  • Avoid contact with infected persons, don’t touch scabs/blisters on infected persons without gloves.
  • Identify high risk areas/times seasonal changes especially between end July and September in South Africa
  • Washing hands
  • Destroy bandages or cleaning gause from any items used


  • Isolation
  • Care is mainly symptomatic for temperature and itchiness
  • Phenergan is used on rare occasions for the itchiness, but mostly calamine lotion can be dabbed onto the blistered area to reduce the itchiness.
  • Phenergan is according to prescription only and has a history of people having allergies to it











Nursing Info South Africa

SANC eRegister

SANC fees

Nursing education RSA


This site in no way substitutes medical advice given by a
medical practitioner and is meant as supporting information only.
The information is not intended for harm, to be seen as diagnosis,
or treatment but is infomrational only. Harm may result in ignoring medical
help and treatment, or in the neglecting of the medical treatment given/suggested
to you by your medical practitioner. The staff of the website intend the information
as informational  and supportive only,
and do not endorse self medication or ignoring medical advice.