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Chickenpox a€” Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment, prevention of this once common childhood illness.
Chickenpox is a contagious disease characterized by many itchy, red bumps all over the body. Chickenpox, or varicella, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is related to the herpes virus. Pregnant women who have never had chickenpox should be especially careful around infected people. Aspirin should never be given to anyone with chickenpox because the medication has been linked to a potentially fatal condition called Reye's syndrome, which causes organ damage, according to the National Institutes of Health. Instead of getting the vaccine, some parents opt to expose their children to the virus by having them interact with a sick child.
On the other hand, Columbus said that, though rare, complications from natural chickenpox disease do occur, so vaccination is a much safer option than naturally exposing a child to the disease.
Later in life, even people who have had chickenpox before can develop a similar condition called shingles. Shingles is a painful rash that usually breaks out on one side of the body or face, the CDC says. Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox, according to the CDC, and the risk of a person with shingles spreading the virus is low if the rash is covered.
This image displays red bumps with a depression in the center typical of varicella (chickenpox). Chickenpox (varicella) is an infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus that goes away on its own. Most children act sick with fever and vague symptoms (loss of appetite, headache, belly ache) for 1–2 days before they start to break out with a rash.
Most infections do not require treatment.If there are adults or teens in the household who have never had chickenpox or people with eczema, asthma, or a weakened immune system, have them contact their doctor, as they may require antiviral medication.
Antiviral medication may be given if the child is seen early (during the first day of the rash) for children at higher risk for more severe chickenpox infection (those with asthma, eczema, recent sunburn, children taking aspirin or corticosteroids on a regular basis, and those with weak immune systems). This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you.
If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here. This website's mission is to provide comprehensive education about all aspects of dermatology and skin health. About chickenpox Chickenpox is a common infection caused by the varicella zoster virus.
Children younger than age 15 are most likely to get it, but older children and adults can become infected as well.
Others who are more susceptible to complications are infants, adolescents, adults and people with weakened immune systems because of illness or medications. Doctors may also conduct tests in pregnant mothers, newborns, people who are about to undergo organ transplants and people with HIV or AIDS, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Antibody testing looks for the IgM antibody, which is released in response to an infection.


Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can help relieve the fever associated with chickenpox.
However, if the patient falls into one of the high-risk groups mentioned above, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral like acyclovir (under brand name Zovirax) or immune globulin intravenous, known as IGIV, to take within 24 hours of the appearance of chickenpox symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. The rash forms blisters that scab over in seven to 10 days, and the rash clears up in two to four weeks. The virus can spread through direct contact with the fluid within the blisters, and a person who has never had chickenpox may develop chickenpox if exposed to the virus. Over the past 16 years, Alina has covered everything from Ebola to androids while writing health, science and tech articles for major publications.
Infection spreads among humans through fluids from the airways, such as from coughing and sneezing, with non-infected household members at high risk of becoming infected as well. Most popular topics include cosmetic dermatology, botox, laser hair removal, dermabrasion, skin tags, laser Cost and how to choose a dermatologist.. Cristie Columbus, vice dean at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and an infectious disease specialist. The tests can determine whether the person had a recent infection or is immune to the disease. Antibody testing can also look for the IgG antibody, which is the long-term immunity to chickenpox.
For adults, valacyclovir (brand name Valtrex) or famciclovir (known as Famvir) may be prescribed.
People who fall into these groups should stay away from people with chickenpox and should not go to chickenpox parties, the CDC says.
After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body and for reasons that are not fully know, reactivates years later. The rash typically occurs in a single stripe on one side of the body, or on one side of the face. She has multiple health, safety and lifesaving certifications from Oklahoma State University.
The development (incubation) period is 14–16 days, and the first sign of disease is a rash.
About 85% of children who have been vaccinated avoid infection, but even if they do show symptoms, they are generally mild. Do not give aspirin to children with chickenpox, because this can increase the child's risk of Reye syndrome. An antiviral drug can be used to treat the symptoms of chickenpox in persons older than age 2. Viral testing involves collecting a fluid sample from the blisters, testing the DNA on a sample or using a microscope to visualize the infection, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Linings of body cavities, such as the mouth or nose (mucous membranes), palms, and soles, can have a few lesions. Avoid any contact between your child and pregnant women who have never had chickenpox, newborns, or people who have a weak immune system or eczema. To date, she has been a volunteer firefighter, a dispatcher, substitute teacher, artist, janitor, children's book author, pizza maker, event coordinator and much more. The average child develops a few hundred blisters, most of which heal without leaving scars.


Once all the blisters have dried up into scabs, the child is not considered contagious to others. High risk people should be treated with antiviral drugs if they have been exposed to chicken pox and are not immune, or if they become sick with chickenpox. In addition to the itchy bumps and scabs, chickenpox can cause fever, headache, dry cough or loss of appetite, according to the Mayo Clinic. Children who have weak immune systems, eczema, or recent sunburns have more severe symptoms. A child who has had the chickenpox vaccine will have far fewer lesions.The blister is usually described as looking like a dewdrop on a rose petal.
Because the virus remains resting (latent) in the parts of nerves that are near the spinal cord (nerve roots) for life, about 1 in 10 adults will get shingles (zoster) when the virus reappears, usually under conditions of stress to the body.After having chickenpox, a person is usually immune for life, although reinfection is possible.
You will usually get spots on your face and scalp first, which may then spread to your chest, arms and legs.
The blisters will usually crust over within a few days to form scabs and the spots usually take around two weeks to heal completely.
If you come into contact with someone who has chickenpox and you haven’t previously had it, you have a very high chance of catching it.
The most infectious period is one to two days before the rash appears, but you can still catch it from someone until all the spots have crusted over. If you have recently been in contact with anyone who has chickenpox this can help to confirm your diagnosis. If you have any doubt, or if you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system, see your GP for advice. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice. Varicella zoster immune globulin doesn’t work once your spots have developed into blisters.
When your baby is seven months old, a blood test can check if he or she has antibodies to chickenpox. If you baby has these antibodies, it means that he or she has developed an immunity to the virus and won’t catch it again. If you come into contact with someone who has chickenpox and you haven’t had it before, see your GP straight away.
The best way to prevent infection is to make sure that people you live with have the chickenpox vaccine. Pregnant women, young babies and people with a weakened immune system are more likely to develop complications as a result of catching chickenpox. This causes shingles, which is a related disease caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella zoster).



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