What Is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox, a highly contagious ailment is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). Other causes may be a wrong diet of children. This ailment is most common among children under age of 12 years but sometimes adults too become victims.

Chickenpox spreads mainly during winter and spring season. It is usually treated as a mild illness but it can cause serious complications in adults and even cause death. As said above, chickenpox is a contagious disease; an infected person can spread this virus very easily, either by direct contact or even through air. In early stages, an exposed person who has not had chickenpox has 70 to 80% chances of getting the disease. It is the reason why infected child should not be sent to school and should stay at home and take rest.

chickenpoxIt is an ailment which happen only once in a life time as same virus cannot cause infection twice in a body. Almost every one gets chickenpox by adulthood. In most of the cases, only one episode of chickenpox is seen but vericella zoster virus (VZV) can lie dormant with in the body and later in life can cause a different type of skin ailment known as shingles (or herpes zoster). So any child/adult who had chickenpox is at a risk of shingles later in life even if he had taken chickenpox vaccine. A person having shingles can also infect a person who has not had chickenpox before in his/her life. Now talking about symptoms, they usually begin 2 to 3 weeks after contact with a victim of chickenpox.

What Are Symptoms Of Chickenpox?
Some of the symptoms include low grade fever, a mild headache, weakness and abdominal pain. Fever remains in the range of 100 to 102 °F. Chickenpox causes res, itchy rashes on the skin. These rashes first appear on the abdomen and face and then spread to almost to every part of the body (scalp, mouth, ears, nose and genitals). With time, rashes become multiple small red bumps which develop into thin walled blisters. Those blisters are filled with clear fluid, which after some time become cloudy. Earlier I told that symptoms are usually mild in children but these rashes may turn to be more severe in kids suffering from skin disorders such as eczema. Although it is considered to be a mild ailment, it case of adults and children having a weak immune systems and new born babies, it can lead to callous complications and even as I earlier said can cause death.

Skin infections and pneumonia are the most common complications of chickenpox. Other complications include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and hepatitis. Especially during pregnancy, chickenpox proves lethal. It causes still births, birth defects, even infection of the newborn baby during child birth. But if mother gets shingles during or before pregnancy, then there is no risk of infection to the new born baby. After having knowledge of chickenpox, its symptoms, causes and complications in different cases, it is time for prevention and treatment.

What is the Prevention and Treatment of Chickenpox?
The best way to prevent chickenpox is chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. Vaccination is usually done between 12 to 15 months of age. Children other than these should also be vaccinated because chickenpox is bound to happen in a life time as earlier said. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and prevention) estimates that vaccination provides complete protection to nearly 90% of the children who receive it. CDC in 2006 recommended a booster shot at 4 to 6 years of age for further protection from chickenpox. So those who never had suffered from chickenpox or received vaccine should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine with a least gap of 28 days. Point to be noted is that this vaccination is not suitable for those who have less immunity and for the pregnant women.
Regarding treatment, infected person should take cold water bath every 3 to 4 hours and adding baking soda in water. It will calm itching. Nails should be trimmed to prevent infection from scratching of blisters. Aspirin should never be given to a child under this condition. Infected person should avoid hot, spicy and acidic food. Occasionally the blister develop in mouth making eating and drinking difficult. In that situation, the person must continue consuming fluids to prevent dehydration. Children must be kept home until all blisters have crusted as a child with chickenpox is highly contagious until the last blister has crusted.

So one should be aware about his/her vaccination and parents should never play negligence in vaccinating their babies. Victims should take treatment carefully and should isolate him/her self from others in order to prevent passing it on to others.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

Leave a Reply

What Is Beriberi?

Why Smoking Causes Lung Cancer?