Chickenpox: Symptoms, Treatments and Causes
Chickenpox is a contagious disease among kids, and because of that, you have to know all the essential information about it.
What is Chickenpox?
It is a viral infection that causes small fluid-filled blisters and itchy rash. Chickenpox will most likely happen once in every child’s growing up phase. Chickenpox is highly contagious and if children who have never had it come in contact with an infected child, they will most likely catch chickenpox too. Things are different now because of the chickenpox vaccine, and the number of hospital cases dropped dramatically because of this.
The infection will appear 10-21 days after being exposed to the virus and will last for 5-10 days.
Here are the signs and symptoms of chickenpox:
- Skin rash
- Loss of appetite
Three Stages of Chickenpox:
- Stage one: pink or red bumps that break out after several days
- Stage two: small fluid-filled blisters that form one day before bumps break.
- Stage three: crusts or scabs that cover the broken blisters. These crusts need several days to heal.
When you get infected with the virus, you become contagious after 48 hours, and this lasts until all crusts and scabs are healed. In some severe cases, the rash will cover the entire body, and the child might get lesions in the throat, eyes and mucous membrane of the urethra, anus and vagina.
Causes and Risk Factors
As we mentioned, chickenpox is a viral infection, which means a virus called varicella-zoster is the cause of this disease.
Some risk factors raise the chances of getting it:
- Never had the virus before
- Did not get vaccinated
- Work with or attend school with someone infected with chicken pox
- Living with children that are infected with chicken pox
It is usually easy to diagnose chickenpox based on skin rash. The doctor might ask you for a lab test such as blood test or culture of lesion samples, in few cases.
As chickenpox is a disease, there is no cure or any specific medical treatment for it, but the doctor might prescribe an antihistamine to stop the itching. In most cases, chickenpox will be allowed to run its course. If you’re at high risk of complications, the doctor might prescribe medications to make the duration of the infection shorter.
Some home remedies to help with the symptoms:
- Trim fingernails to minimise scratching
- Gloves may also help in preventing scars from scratching
- Baking soda and uncooked oatmeal, mixed with water in a bathtub.
- Put calamine lotion on the itchy spots
- Avoid taking aspirin because it may lead to a serious health condition
- Don’t take any medicine without a doctor prescription
When to see a Doctor
It’s important to consult a doctor if these occur:
- The rash is spreading to one or both eyes
- The outbreak turns very red and warm
- Dizziness occurs
- Have a rapid heartbeat
- Have shortness of breath
- Fever higher than 38.9 C
- An infected child is less than six months old
Sometimes chickenpox might lead to some complications which include:
- Bacterial skin infection
- Shock syndrome
- Reye’s syndrome (if you take aspirin during your illness)
If you are pregnant and are infected with chickenpox, it may result in some complications, such as:
- Low birth weight
- Congenital disabilities
It is critical not to catch chickenpox during the last month of pregnancy. Try to avoid contact with an infected child or person.
Vaccination is one of the most prevention methods for chickenpox. Children must receive this vaccine when they are 12-15 months old. If you had chickenpox before, you might not need a vaccine, as you are more immune to this virus.
Visit one of the many general practitioners on Okadoc and ask them for advice on how to manage chickenpox for you or your child.
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