The other name for chickenpox is varicella. This is a very highly contagious infection caused by the virus called varicella zoster
It is a painful condition, but most people recover within 1 to 2 weeks. This condition causes a blister-like rash which appears initially on the face and the trunk and then slowly spreads throughout the body. It is not a life-threatening condition, but complications may always arise.
Facts of chickenpox there are a few key facts about chickenpox they are as follows-
- Varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox.
- Varicella has an incubation period of 10 to 21 days.
- It is a highly contagious disease.
- The infection spreads similarly as cold and flu.
- It can be diagnosed by observing the signs of symptoms.
Before the rash appears the following symptoms can be felt:
- A feeling of being unwell is experienced
- High fever persists which is worse in adults than children
- Muscles ache
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling of nausea
After the rash appears, the symptoms are:
- The severity of rash varies from a few spots to rashes that covers the whole body. The spots may occur in clusters which are mostly seen on the stomach, chest, limbs and face. They are small, red and very itchy.
- Blisters soon develop over the top of the spots which become all the itchier.
- After 48 hours of the formation of the blisters it starts drying out, and a crust develops over it.
- Within about 10 days the crust begins falling off on their own. During the whole cycle, new spots may appear, and the patient may have different classes of sports with different levels of dryness, itchines, and crustiness.
- Some other symptoms experienced by patients in severe conditions are that the blisters and spots become very painful and red. It can also cause breathing difficulties.
A vaccine generally prevents chickenpox. There is no set treatment for chickenpox, and it resolves on its own within a week or two. The doctors may prescribe medicines to reduce itchiness and discomfort and also advise you on tips to prevent the infection from spreading.
Fever and pain caused because of chickenpox can be treated by taking acetaminophen. This is safe during pregnancy too. Drinking a lot of fluids especially water can avoid dehydration which helps in healing chicken pox. If a patient is experiencing spots in the mouth, sugar-free popsicles help to soothe the soreness. Salty and spicy food is a total no in the condition. Soups and semi-liquid food are the best options if chewing becomes painful. The food should not be hot.
Itchiness mostly becomes severe, but it is vital to avoid scratching which may result in scarring. To help prevent scratching fingernails should be kept clean and short. Use of socks on mittens on the child’s hand would be a great idea. Even if the child tries to scratch it, it would not cut down the skin or result in scarring. Having an oatmeal bath and applying calamine lotion would reduce itching. It is advisable to wear loose clothes.
Adults are more prone to complications than children, but complications in even adults are rare. If the blisters get infected with bacteria, there is a higher risk of complication. Some people who are at a higher risk of complications are- pregnant women, newborns and infants up to 4 week, and people with weak immune systems.
The only prevention to be away from chickenpox is the vaccine available for varicella. This vaccine is given to children in two doses. One at the age of 12 months and one at the age of 4 to 6 years. This vaccine has proved to be effective in preventing chickenpox. Be sure to get the vaccine at the right time.