Warning from doctors: Chickenpox cases on the rise

FRASER Coast doctors have recorded an "alarming" number of patients needing treatment for chickenpox across Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

Local GPs recorded a "cluster" of chickenpox infections on the weekend.

On Saturday, GPs for Dial A Home Doctor treated four patients for the viral disease and another two on Sunday.

Area manager, Dr Aleem Khan said six patients in two days was an "excessive number".

"Usually there isn't that many in a cluster," he said.

"Speaking with our doctors over the weekend they said they'd seen more cases than usual."

Home doctor service House Call Doctor recorded 23 cases of chickenpox in the region throughout the last six months - almost one a week.

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House Call Doctor CEO Wayne Ormond said those numbers are above average and was likely due to infected persons exposing themselves to others.

"With any of these diseases, people should not go out when they have it and should spend time at home," Mr Ormond said.

"It's highly contagious and it should not be passed on to other people."

The most common symptom of chickenpox is an itchy blistering red rash and may also cause a low-grade fever. Dr Khan said a person is infectious up to two weeks before a rash occurs.

A person will remain contagious until blisters on the body form scabs.

He said sudden changes in weather could also trigger an infection in the body.

"If you're infected it's important you drink enough fluids and stay away from school and work," he said.

"Make sure you notify the school in case you have already exposed the illness to other people. "

Dr Khan said the disease predominately affects young children, however adults are not immune, and if infected, can pose more serious health risks.

Anyone concerned should contact their local GP.



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