Many of us can vividly remember having chickenpox as a child and the misery caused by those itchy little spots. While the chickenpox virus is very common and usually passes in a couple of weeks, it is highly contagious and can be very dangerous for vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women, newborn babies, and those with compromised immune systems. The virus can be spread in a number of different ways, including physical contact, breathing air from an infected person, or coming into contact with fluids from an infected person’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
Thankfully, there are five simple steps that can be taken to ensure that the spread of the infection is limited.
It is essential for someone who is infected with the chickenpox virus to stay at home and limit contact with others. Public places should be avoided until at least the blisters have scabbed over. This can typically take around seven days after the rash first appears. Infected individuals should not attend daycare, school, or work while contagious. Any outside plans or scheduled visits should be postponed until the individual has recovered.
The simple task of washing hands with warm water and soap should be done regularly by everyone in the household with an infected person. Ensuring that children know how to wash their hands properly and thoroughly is so important, as they will touch many surfaces throughout the day. Hand washing should take at least 20 seconds. It is also a great time to remind them of the importance of covering their mouth with their hand or a tissue when coughing and sneezing. These tissues should then be disposed of immediately so that the virus is not left hanging around.
Limiting shared personal items such as towels and clothing will reduce the likelihood of the virus transmission. The infected person should have their own set of towels, bedding, and clothes and should not share drinking utensils or cutlery with others. Anything used by the infected person should be washed separately in hot water.
Keeping surfaces and commonly touched items clean can reduce the spread of infection. This is especially important in the main living spaces occupied by the individual with chickenpox. Using a strong disinfectant will help to kill germs and reduce the chances of virus transmission.
It is really important to inform close contacts, such as school staff or work colleagues, that there is someone infected with the chickenpox virus in the household. This will allow them to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection. Educating children as to what chickenpox is and why it is important to limit the spread is advisable. Their understanding will improve their compliance with the above measures.
By following these five simple steps diligently, you can make a vital contribution to preventing the spread of the chickenpox virus to those who are most vulnerable.