Can I Be Around A Child With Chicken Pox While Pregnant? Best To Avoid Contact If Possible
What causes Chicken Pox?
Its caused by a virus and is highly contagious. You can catch the chicken pox from anyone who is infected before any symptoms emerge, which is partly why it spreads so easily. You can catch it from any airborne particle from a cough, sneeze or sharing a drink. If you touch a chicken pox blister you will also expose yourself to the virus. A few days before the spots appear is when a person is most contagious, and they remain contagious until all of the blisters have crusted over. This is about two weeks in total.
What are the symptoms of chicken pox?
You wont usually display symptoms of chicken pox for approximately two weeks after you have been in contact with an infected person. Symptoms include a fever, headache, loss of appetite, sore throat, cough and just feeling unwell. Following these symptoms in the next day or two you will come out in the tell tale rash. The spots will itch terribly, and scratching them can lead to scarring and the further spread of the illness.
Once the spots start to appear, it takes them a day or two to get through their cycle of appearing, blistering, bursting, drying and scabbing over. You will find that new spots appear every day for approximately one week. The severity of the infection will vary. There are children who get away with having a dose of chicken pox with a few dozen spots and then there are people who suffer with spots all over their body including inside their eyelids, nose, throat and any exposed skin.
What if I have been exposed to chicken pox?
While its rare to catch chicken pox while pregnant, its not impossible. If you come down with chicken pox while pregnant there is a risk to your unborn baby, and while it is small you should still always talk to your health professional. If you do come down with chicken pox while you’re pregnant you’re likely to be sicker than other people.
If you contract chicken pox in the first trimester of your pregnancy there is a small chance of birth defects or a smaller head than usual. If you contract chicken pox shortly before giving birth your infant may be born with chicken pox or develop shingles very soon after birth.
If you know you have been exposed to chicken pox, talk to your doctor immediately. You may be given varicella immune globulin which can help to stop the infection from developing or you may be given anti viral drugs if you have actually contracted the virus to stop your bout of chicken pox being so severe.