Emergency advice


  1. Make sure the casualty is comfortable.
  2. Give them plenty of fluids.
  3. Give them the recommended dose of paracetamol.
  4. Prevent them from itching.
  5. If worried, seek medical advice. 

What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Someone with chickenpox will usually have a high temperature and an itchy rash with red blisters. It is a common disease and mostly affects children.

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • red spots that can appear anywhere on the body and become itchy, fluid-filled blisters, which may burst and scab over
  • a high temperature above 37°C (98.6°F)
  • general aches and pains
  • loss of appetite

What to do

  1. If someone has chickenpox, make sure they are comfortable. 

  2. Give them plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

    • If the casualty is a child, you could give them an ice lolly to suck.
  3. You can give the casualty the recommended dose of paracetamol for an adult or the recommended dose of paracetamol syrup for a child.

    • Do not give aspirin to anyone under the age of 16.
  4. If the blisters are very itchy, ask a pharmacist for advice about creams and antihistamines that can be used to help.

  5. To prevent the casualty from itching, you can:

    • trim their fingernails
    • put socks on their hands at night
    • dress them in loose clothing.
  6. Monitor their level of response until they recover.

  7. Seek medical advice, if:

    • the blisters appear to be infected
    • you’re worried that they are getting worse.

Related first aid advice


Anyone of any age can get meningitis. Find out what to look for and what to do.


Mumps is a contagious viral infection. It usually passes without causing serious damage to a person’s health. Find out what to look for and what to do.

Scarlet fever in babies

Scarlet fever is an infection that causes a blotchy, pink-red rash, and is most common in children. Find out what to look for nad what to do.

St John Ambulance volunteers providing support