Varicella Vaccination For Adults (2 Doses) With Consultation @ ​$200.28 inclusive of GST

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What is Chicken Pox?

Chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is a viral infection that causes an itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. It is highly contagious to people who have not had the disease or been vaccinated against it. It is a common infection in childhood with half of all children infected by the time they start school. Fewer than 2 per cent of infections occur in adults although symptoms tend to be more severe.

What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox?

The first symptoms of chickenpox usually arise 10 to 14 days after exposure.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite, and
  • Headache.

Usually, a day after these symptoms begin, the chickenpox rash starts to form on the face, chest and back, or limbs, and it appears as clusters of small, usually itchy, red blisters.

How Long Does the Rash Last?

New blisters can develop throughout the body for about four days and they gradually dry up, crust, and form scabs. The scabs then take a week or two to fall off, and may leave marks on the skin that take time to fade.

How Does Chickenpox Infection Spread?

If you have not had chickenpox before and have not been fully vaccinated against varicella, you are at risk of getting infected. The virus is highly contagious and it is transmitted by direct contact with the rash or by droplets dispersed into the air through coughing or sneezing. After being exposed to the varicella virus, one will begin to show symptoms up to two weeks later (incubation period). An infected person can spread the virus one to two days before the rash appears, and remains contagious until all spots have dried and scabbed over.

What Treatment is Available for Chickenpox?

In healthy people, chickenpox is self-resolving and typically requires no medical treatment. Medication such as antihistamine and calamine lotion are prescribed to relieve itching while paracetamol is prescribed for fever and headaches. For those with underlying medical conditions, an antiviral drug such as acyclovir, may help to lessen the severity of the disease when given within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. 

What Are Some Possible Complications from Chickenpox?

Most people who develop chickenpox fight off the infection without complications. However, complications can arise especially in adults and people with compromised immune systems. 

Potential complications of chickenpox include:

  • Bacteria skin infections

  • Lung infection

  • Inflammation of the brain

  • Low birth weight and limb abnormalities are more common among babies born to women who are infected with chickenpox early in their pregnancy

  • When a mother is infected with chickenpox in the week before birth or within a couple of days after giving birth, her baby has a higher risk of developing a serious, life-threatening infection

  • Persons who had been infected with chickenpox in the past are at risk of a complication called shingles. The varicella-zoster virus remains in the nerve cells after the skin infection has healed. Many years later, the virus can reactivate and resurface as shingles — a painful cluster of short-lived blisters. The virus is more likely to reappear in older adults and people who have weakened immune systems.

How Can I Prevent Myself from Catching Chickenpox?

The chickenpox vaccine is a safe, effective way to prevent chickenpox and its possible complications. It is effective in 80 to 90 per cent of those who are vaccinated. Vaccinated persons who do not develop full protection from the vaccine and develop chickenpox usually have milder symptoms such as no fever and less severe rash. The live vaccine can be given to adults as well as children above 12 months old. It comprises two doses spaced four to eight weeks apart. However, it is not recommended in pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system. If you do not remember whether you have had chickenpox or the vaccine, a blood test can determine the presence immunity. 

Persons with, or suspected to have chickenpox should avoid close contact with others who might be susceptible, especially pregnant women, new born babies and people with a weakened  immune system.

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