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Home :: Infectious Diseases

Chicken Pox

 

Chicken Pox
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Chicken Pox is a highly contagious condition. It affects both of all age groups. It is however a common occurrence amongst children of 3-8 years of age. Immunity for life. Adult chicken pox is rare. But when it occurs it can be a serious attack with complications. Chickenpox spreads in tiny droplets of saliva and nasal mucus coughed out by an infected person. If a woman comes into contact with chickenpox or shingles when pregnant, there's no problem if she's had it before, because this gives your body immunity to it (re-infection is rare). Unlike chickenpox which normally fully settles, shingles may result in persisting post-herpetic neuralgia pain Chickenpox is very common and highly contagious. Approximately 3 million cases occur each year in the United States.

Chickenpox was once considered a rite of passage for most children. Before 1995 -when a vaccine for chickenpox became available in the United States - about 4 million Americans, mostly children, contracted chickenpox each year People who get the virus often develop a rash of spots that look like blisters all over their bodies. The blisters are small and sit on an area of red skin that can be anywhere from the size of a pencil eraser to the size of a dime. Kids can be protected from VZV by getting the chickenpox vaccine, usually between the ages of 12 to 18 months, though sometimes the vaccine is given to older kids, teens, and adults. Symptomatic treatment, with calamine lotion to ease itching and paracetamol (known in the U.S. as acetaminophen) to reduce fever, is widely used. It doesn't do any harm because it's kept under control by the immune system; the part of the body that fights infection. Later in life, viruses remaining dormant in the nerves can reactivate causing localised eruptions of shingles . This occurs particularly in people with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, and perhaps even those suffering sunburn. However, the chickenpox vaccine is a safe, effective way to prevent chickenpox and its possible complications . The most common reason for the virus to reactivate is getting older. Reactivation of the virus causes a condition called shingles, a painful blistering skin rash that typically occurs on the face, chest or back, in the same area where one or two of the body's sensory nerves travel.

Chickenpox is one of the classic childhood diseases, and one of the most contagious. Chickenpox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster (say: var-uh- seh -luh zas -tur). But the good news is that chickenpox is a common illness for kids and most people get better by just resting like you do with a cold or the flu. Chickenpox is rarely fatal (usually from varicella pneumonia ), with pregnant women and those with depressed immune systems being more at risk. Pregnant women not known to be immune and who come into contact with chickenpox may need urgent treatment as the virus can cause serious problems for the fetus. Most people think of chickenpox as a mild disease -and, for most, it is. Chickenpox usually lasts about two weeks and rarely causes complications. But the disease can be serious, even in healthy children.

Causes of Chicken Pox

The common Causes of Chicken Pox :

  • Chickenpox lesions can become infected, usually from scratching and most frequently with a bacteria called Staphylococcus.
  • The virus is contained in the body fluids and in the lesions of skin and mucosa.
  • Contact with broken chickenpox blisters
  • Inhaling airborne droplets
  • Poor immune system


Symptoms of Chicken Pox

Some common Symptoms of Chicken Pox :

  • Fever
  • Headache and sore throat.
  • Abdominal pain or loss of appetite
  • Little or no appetite.
  • Most of the blisters will heal within 10-14 days, usually with no scarring unless the blisters become infected.
  • New blisters may appear after three to six days.
  • Mild headache
  • General feeling of unease and discomfort (malaise) or irritability
  • Chickenpox lasts 7 to 10 days in children and longer in adults
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment of Chicken Pox

Here is the list of the methods for treating Chicken Pox :

  • The treatment mostly consists of easing the symptoms.
  • Cut the nails short or make the patient wear gloves.
  • Cool compresses applied to blisters may give relief, as may calamine lotion.
  • Keep the patient in cold surroundings, as heat and sweat may make the itching worse.
  • Varicella zoster immune globulin can be given after exposure to chickenpox to reduce its severity in people who are at risk for serious complications.
  • Acetaminophen can be used to treat fever.
  • You can give cool-water baths every 3-4 hours, adding baking soda to the water to calm itching you may also soak in an Aveeno oatmeal bath to soothe itching blisters.
  • In serious cases of chickenpox in people with a weak immune system, aciclovir (eg Zovirax tablets/suspension) , which works specifically against chickenpox, can be used.
  • Acyclovir (a prescription medication used to treat viral infections) may be recommended for people at risk for developing serious complications.