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Stuart asked...

Can I pass on chicken pox from my son to another person if I don't have any symptoms?

Hi there, My son has chicken pox, I had chicken pox when I was a child. Can I pass on chicken pox from my son to another person if I don't have any symptoms? Thanks

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The answer

Thank you for your question.

Chickenpox is caused by a virus that spreads very easily to people who have not had it before. If you have had it before you are normally immune for life.

The infection is spread in the fluid found in the chickenpox blisters and the droplets in the cough or sneezes of someone with the infection.

You can catch chickenpox from:

  • Contaminated surfaces.
  • Contaminated objects, such as toys or bedding.
  • Touching the chicken pox blisters or a shingles rash.
  • Face to face contact with the infected person, such as having a conversation.
  • Being in the same room as someone for longer than fifteen minutes or more.

Someone with chickenpox is infectious from one or two days before the rash appears until all the blisters have dried up and scabbed over. It’s usually mild and clears up within a week or so, but it can be dangerous for some people, such as pregnant women, newborn babies and people with a weakened immune system.

It is possible to get chickenpox more than once, but this is extremely rare. Most people who have had chickenpox won't get it again because they're immune to it for life. However, some people who have had chickenpox may develop a related condition called shingles later on. This is caused by the chickenpox virus being reactivated, usually several decades later.

The main symptoms for shingles is pain, followed by a rash that develops into itchy blisters similar in appearance to chickenpox.

Unless you are presenting with any of the chickenpox or shingles symptoms as listed, you are not contagious.

You may find the NHS choices website informative regarding this.

We hope that this has answered you question.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses