It is just the beginning of summer, but cases of chicken pox have already started to surface in the city.

Cases of chicken pox rise during the peak summer months of April and May. Some doctors in the city have already seen patients, including children, with chicken pox in the last few days.

Chicken pox is an acute viral infectious disease spread by the varicella zoster virus. “It is a self-limiting disease and there is no need to fear. It can be easily diagnosed. Getting medical help will control its severity,” S. Raghunanthanan, professor of medicine, Madras Medical College, said.

For students, contracting chicken pox during examinations can be a difficult thing to handle.

P. Vijayalakshmi, principal, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Virugambakkam, said eight to nine students, mostly in classes VII and VIII, had reported to have chicken pox.

“We have advised them to come to school only after they recover. The examinations for classes I to VIII will begin in a week. We told them that we’d provide them with a separate room to write the exam,” she said, adding that students usually present with chicken pox only by the end of March and beginning of April.

A school education department official said schools in the city where class XII examinations are being held had not reported any case so far.

Chicken pox starts with boils on the chest and back, along with body pain, fever, chills and tiredness.

“People with chicken pox should be isolated. They should stay in a separate room at home and preferably stay away from children, pregnant women and elderly as they are highly prone to infection,” Dr. Raghunanthanan said.

Doctors said that anti-viral drugs are available for treatment. Patients are advised to take plenty of fluids such as tender coconut, fruit juices and water, and stay at home for at least 10 days.

A doctor at the Institute of Child Health said hygiene was important in preventing the spread of the disease.

“Vaccination is available for preventing chicken pox and is advisable after the age of one,” he said.

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