Chickenpox: Varicella, a common viral infectious disease. More common in school age children but can affect any age. Adults run the risk of serious complications, such as bacterial pneumonia and adult patients usually have a severe case that last longer where as in children it is usually mild. Chickenpox is very contagious, and keeping your child home until blisters are dry and have scab over.
Those who have had chickenpox usually develop a lifetime immunity, but the virus remains dormant in the body, and if you had chickenpox as a child, there may be a possibility of developing shingles as an adult.
Chickenpox can pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn child therefore, doctors often advise women of child bearing years to confirm their immunity with a blood test, chickenpox can cause birth defects.
Cause: Chickenpox is caused by the herpes zoster virus or what is also called varicella zoster virus. The incubation period is 7 to 21 days, and the patient is most contagious a day before the rash appears and up to 7 days after, or until the rash forms scabs. It is spread by droplets: coughing, sneezing, or by contact with the clothing or oozing vesicles of an infected person.
Rash that is very itchy, red bumps that spreads from the face, neck, torso, and all limbs.
The rash progresses from red spots to fluid filled blisters (vesicles- that may drain) and scab over. The rash, can last up to 10 days.
Blisters may also appear in the mouth, on the genital, and around the eyes that can be very painful
Chickenpox is highly contagious and keeping affected patients away from others helps to stop the spread of this viral infection. Keep child or patient home until blister is dry and the scabs have fallen off.
Your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine, to relieve pain and swelling – for severe cases the doctor may prescribe acyclovir (which speeds up healing) and or antibiotic to prevent secondary infection.
Calamine lotion may be apply to itchy areas
Doctors advise that you do not give aspirin to children.
If you are pregnant and believe that you have been expose to chickenpox virus, call your doctor promptly.
Prevention: Immunization of varicella zoster vaccine is helpful (pregnant women should consult with your doctor)