Most of us will have caught chickenpox at some point during our childhood. Many of us won’t remember having them, unless your mum likes to bring up the story of how you liked to throw your scratch mitts across the room, while covered in lotion, when she’s meeting your other half for the first time (cheers, mum!).

All jokes aside, chickenpox can be dangerous if not dealt with properly, especially as an adult, so here’s the low-down on the chickenpox virus and the vaccination against it - which is available at Superdrug.

Little two year old girl at home sick with chickenpox, white antiseptic cream applied by her mother to the rash

What is chickenpox?

When you think of chickenpox, you’ll probably conjure up an image of being covered head to toe in red, itchy blisters - which would be about right! This irritating rash is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is part of the herpes family.

The saving grace about chickenpox is you should only get it once, as when you come into contact with it the body develops an immunity to the virus. However, is it possible to reoccur as shingles which causes a similar rash accompanied by severe nerve pain and can take weeks or months to fully disappear.

Is chickenpox dangerous?

Generally, chickenpox isn’t very dangerous, it’s more irritating than anything if you contract it as a child. It doesn’t usually have any lasting side effects, apart from leaving a few scars caused when you ignored your mum and scratched your blisters! However, as with most illnesses or diseases, it’s not completely harmless.  New born babies, those with compromised immune systems and adults will find it much harder to fight off the virus and it could develop into something far more serious!

Can chickenpox cause complications?

Chickenpox can come with complications, but the good news is, they are very rare.  Adults need to be more observant, as they are at a bigger risk of chickenpox turning into a potentially life-threatening situation. If you have chickenpox, or your child does, it’s always best to keep an eye out for developing symptoms such as dehydration or if either of you are feeling really unwell.

How does the chickenpox vaccine work?

The chickenpox vaccine contains a very small dose of a weakened version of the virus, but don’t be alarmed! By introducing a harmless form of the virus into the body, your immune system will respond, in a positive way, and learn how to keep it at bay if you ever come into contact with it. Our bodies are pretty amazing, aren’t they?

Eczema

Benefits of the chickenpox vaccine

Apart from the obvious (protecting yourself from an illness), getting the chickenpox vaccine can also help others around you. Not everybody can have the vaccination, such as new born babies, pregnant women and those with conditions that effect the immune system. So, by you receiving the vaccination, you’re doing your part in preventing the spread of this, potentially deadly, disease.

How can I get vaccinated?

The chickenpox vaccine is not routinely administered in the UK. However, it is available at Superdrug! If you, or your child, is aged between 1 and 65 then you are eligible. The vaccinations are given in two doses, and each dose cost £65. So, that’s £130 for the course.

Around 70-90% of people who are vaccinated will develop complete immunity against chickenpox, meaning they will experience zero symptoms!  And there’s more good news! Even if you are vaccinated but do not become fully immune, if you do come into contact with the chickenpox virus it will generally be much milder and pass quicker.

If you want to find out more about Superdrug’s chickenpox vaccination, or any other vaccination we have offer, you can book an appointment with one of our nurses today.