Nursing management of childhood chickenpox infection
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Nursing management of childhood chickenpox infection

Grace Boyd Year 5 medical student, Medical School, University of Bristol, England
Paul Anthony Heaton Consultant paediatrician, Yeovil District Hospital, Yeovil, England
Rachel Wilkinson Advanced paediatric nurse practitioner, St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, England
Siba Prosad Paul Consultant paediatrician, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, England

Chickenpox is an extremely contagious infectious disease caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV). It is a common childhood illness characterised by an itchy vesicular rash and fever, which usually resolves spontaneously without medical intervention. Serious, and rarely fatal, complications can occur, including pneumonia, central nervous system infection, overwhelming secondary bacterial infections, especially with Group A streptococcus, and necrotising fasciitis. Therefore it is crucial that emergency department (ED) nurses can recognise the signs and symptoms that indicate deterioration.

This article reviews best practice management of children with chickenpox, gives up-to-date guidance on the safe use of antipyretics, the avoidance of ibuprofen and discusses immunisation against VZV. It also includes implications for nursing practice and a case study that illustrates some of the challenges that ED nurses may encounter.

Emergency Nurse. 25, 8, 32-41. doi: 10.7748/en.2017.e1720


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

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Received: 01 April 2017

Accepted: 05 June 2017

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