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Chicken Pox

Overview

Chicken pox is a communicable disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. It majorly affects children and causes itchy rashes on the skin. The disease is contagious to the ones who have not been vaccinated or haven’t had it even once. The incubation period of the virus is 10 to 21 days. The infection that spreads is similar to flu and cold. The diagnosis can be performed if the early signs and symptoms are carefully observed.

Chicken Pox symptoms can be divided into two stages, before and after the appearance of rash. The symptoms that appear before the rashesare:

  • Fever
  • Muscle Aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • General feeling of being unwell

The symptoms that appear after the rashes are:

  • Spots: Small red and itchy spots in cluster generally appearing on the face, chest, stomach and limbs.
  • Rash: The few spots in the beginning usually cover the body with rashes in severe cases.
  • Clouding: A crust starts to develop on the blisters within 2 days
  • Blisters: Itchy blisters may develop on the spots
  • Healing: The crust too falls off on their own within 10 days.

The symptoms usually heal after two weeks. The disease is still communicable until the sores and spots have dried up

 

Chicken Pox causes majorly include the Varicella-zoster virus which can spread through several mediums like:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Saliva
  • Contact with Blisters’ fluid

There are basically two risk factors of chicken pox. First of all, a person exposed to someone with chicken pox is at risk and secondly, not having immunity against the virus also adds to the phenomenon. It can easily pass through air droplets, particles and fluids from blisters.

 

Management of the symptoms is the most effective way of treating this disease. Chicken Pox treatment generally includes reduction in the symptoms such as itching. Antiviral drugs are effective in reducing the duration of symptoms. The drugs do not cure chicken pox. Over the counter painkillers are also recommended by the doctors to relieve pain and swelling. If bacterial skin infections arise, antibiotics are recommended. Chicken pox can be managed at home by using several home based treatments. Skin itching can be controlled by:

  • Applying calamine lotion
  • Wearing light clothes
  • Taking lukewarm bath

Pain or fever can be treated by taking Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Care should be taken to have non-aspirin medications only, as aspirin can lead to complications. Doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Children who cannot drink enough can have sugar free popsicles. Mouth Soreness can also be treated with the popsicles, but salty or spicy foods must be avoided. Itching can become severe with consistent scratching. To prevent scratching, keep fingernails as short as possible.

Antiviral medications are recommended for people with chickenpox who are more likely to develop serious disease including like people with chronic diseases , people receiving steroid therapy , pregnant women etc

 

The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine. Children, adolescents, and adults should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine.

Chickenpox vaccine is very safe and effective at preventing the disease. Most people who get the vaccine will not get chickenpox. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually mild—with fewer red spots or blisters and mild or no fever. The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease.

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