We already know that chickenpox causes blister-like rashes. These rashes appear on your skin after a period of 10-21 days after being exposed to the varicella-zoster virus. It usually lasts for 5-10 days.
Chickenpox is an extremely contagious viral infection that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This highly contagious infection causes itchy, blister-like rashes on the skin. People who haven’t had chickenpox or haven’t gotten vaccinated are more likely to contract it. Keep reading to find out more about the disease, its treatment, and prevention.
Chickenpox is a very contagious infection that causes itchy rashes along with tiny, fluid-filled blisters. Vaccinations are recommended to all to prevent the spread of chickenpox. The vaccine is quite safe and effectively prevents chickenpox pox and other chickenpox-related complications.
Symptoms Of Chickenpox
We already know that chickenpox causes blister-like rashes. These rashes appear on your skin after a period of 10-21 days after being exposed to the varicella-zoster virus. It usually lasts for 5-10 days. Symptoms like fever, loss of appetite, headache, malaise and fatigue are common during the initial stage before the appearance of rashes.
After the appearance of chickenpox rashes, there are further three phases:
• Swollen pink or red bumps (papules) that break out in the coming days
• Fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) that form over a day, break and then leak
• Formation of crusts and scabs on broken blisters that take a week or two to heal properly
The three stages of chickenpox involve bumps, blisters, and scabbed lesions that often occur at the same time. New bumps will still appear and people who have already contracted the virus will be able to spread the virus to others for up to 48 hours before the appearance of rashes. The virus is quite contagious until the blisters have all crusted over. Healthy children have mild chickenpox. In some cases, the infection can become severe and cause rashes to break out in the whole body. Lesions may also form in the throat, eyes and mucous membranes of the urethra, anus and vagina.
Consult a doctor as soon as possible if your child shows symptoms of chickenpox. Doctors can help diagnose your ward and prescribe medication to treat chickenpox and effectively prevent any other complications. You can also call ahead and book an appointment to prevent the virus from spreading.
Go and consult a doctor immediately if
• the rash spreads to one or both eyes
• the rash swells, becomes warm and tender. This may indicate a secondary bacterial skin infection.
• The rash is accompanied by dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, tremors, worsening cough, vomiting, loss of muscle coordination, stiff neck or a fever higher than 102 F (38.9 C).
• you or the person has a weak immune system or is younger than 6 months.
Causes Of Chickenpox & Complications
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Chickenpox spreads through direct contact with the rash. The virus can also spread when a person with chickenpox coughs or sneezes. The air droplets containing the virus can be then inhaled by a healthy person. It can also spread by saliva, skin-to-skin contact (handshakes or hugs), touching a contaminated surface, mother to baby during pregnancy, labour, or nursing.
Although chickenpox is a mild disease, it can lead to some serious complications later, such as:-
• inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
• bacterial infections of the skin, soft tissues, bones, joints, or bloodstream (sepsis)
• toxic shock syndrome
• Reye’s syndrome in children and teenagers taking aspirin during chickenpox
Find Out If You Are At Risk
People who haven’t already contracted the varicella-zoster virus are more likely to contract chickenpox. People who haven’t had the chickenpox vaccine also have more chances of contracting the virus.
You will find that people who have already gotten chickenpox or are vaccinated do not contract it again. Such people contract chickenpox in very rare cases and when they do it is quite mild.
The following people are at higher risk of chickenpox complications:
• adolescents and adults
• pregnant women with no chickenpox history
• people who smoke
• newborns and infants with no chickenpox history
• weak immune system due to medication, chemotherapy, or other diseases like cancer or HIV
• people taking steroid medication for other conditions like asthma
High fever or achiness caused by chickenpox can be treated with Tylenol. Tylenol will help you relieve the pain that comes with the formation of sores on your skin and in your mouth. Make sure you avoid anti-inflammatory painkillers, like ibuprofen, as they can complicate things further.
Do not scratch or pat your itch. Dab and pat your skin dry after taking a hygienic bath. Only wear loose and cotton clothing to allow your skin to breathe. You can also dab calamine lotion on some spots and try antihistamine & Benadryl. If you have scratched a blister by accident, you must wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds at least.
Prevention Of Chickenpox
Chickenpox prevention is possible permanently by the help of the chickenpox vaccine. Children, adolescents, adults, and basically everyone should get two doses of the chickenpox vaccine. It is quite safe. A vaccinated person may contract the virus in very rare cases but the vaccine still minimizes any complications.