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Chickenpox - An overview

Chicken pox is a viral skin infection caused by varicella-zoster virus. Most people regard chickenpox as a mild disease, but It is highly contagious and can spread quickly. So it is better to get vaccinated to prevent possible complications. Chickenpox may appear after 10 to 21 days of contracting the viral infection and usually lasts for ten days.

Causes of Chickenpox

As chickenpox is a contagious infection, which can be caused by the patient's coughing and sneezing, direct contact with the blisters, coming in contact with the patient's saliva and workingor attending a school or child care facility where there are infected children .

Chickenpox can be seriously fatal in people suffering from bacterial infections, dehydration, pneumonia, or Reye's syndrome. It can affect newborn babies, children with asthma, adults, pregnant women who never had the disease or people with impaired immune system due to other medications.

Symptoms of Chickenpox

The common signs of chickenpox are as follows:

  • Blister
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Itchy rashes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and a drowsy feeling

Women exposed during pregnancy may bear children with birth defects like

  • small head size
  • eye problems
  • intellectual disabilities

Diagnosis of Chickenpox

The doctors may diagnose chickenpox based on the symptoms. However, if there is any unexplained rash or frequent headaches and fever, then the doctor may confirm it by conducting blood tests,culture or lesion tests.

Treatment of Chickenpox

In most cases, medical treatment for chickenpox is not required and doctors may advise waiting until the viral infection is completely cured. To relieve itching, doctors may prescribe antihistamines or topical ointments. Infected children are suggested not to attend schools or daycare to prevent the spread of the virus, whereas adults will be advised to stay home.

High-risk patients with severe complications may be prescribed with antiviral drugs, which reduces the severity of the symptoms and heal faster

Prevention of Chickenpox

The chickenpox vaccine prevents chickenpox in 90 percent of children who receive it. The shot should be given when your child is between 12 and 15 months of age. A booster is given between 4 and 6 years of age.

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