Chicken pox usually starts with a mild fever that is followed 1–2 days later by red spots that become like small blisters.
Over the next few days these itchy blisters become crusty. The blisters usually start on the chest and then the arms, legs, and head (sometimes in the mouth). The incubation period (from the time of contact with another child with chicken pox to the first symptoms) is 2–3 weeks. The child is infectious from 1–2 days before the first symptoms to after the last blister crusts over.
If you are concerned about your child see your doctor.
It is important not to give children aspirin because of the risk of a serious condition called Reyes Syndrome.
Immunisation to prevent chicken pox is available from 9 months of age but is not subsidised, so you have to pay for it.
For help and advice call PlunketLine 0800 933 922, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If your child is sick please call Healthline, 0800 611 116, New Zealand's 24-hour telephone health advice service. All calls are answered by registered nurses.
In an emergency phone 111.