Chickenpox has been a cause of worry for mankind for a long time now. This article will share some information about its symptoms, so that its effect can be curtailed. Have a look…
Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). In the past, it was widespread, but today with the introduction the vaccine, fewer cases are being reported. Two doses of the varicella vaccine are recommended for children, adults, and adolescents.
A infected person may exhibit the following signs, which differ from one individual to another.
- Fever in the range of 100° to 102° Fahrenheit.
- Abdominal pain.
- Sore throat.
- An undefinable feeling before the rash appears.
In the beginning, the rash is small and resembles an insect bite. This develops into blisters, which are usually less than a quarter of an inch wide, and have a base which is reddish in color and filled with clear fluid. Once the blisters burst, they turn into sores. These sores finally dry and scabs are formed. These skin blisters occur in stages, starting from the abdomen, back or face. This later spreads to other conceivable places, like the scalp, mouth, nose, ears, and genitals.
Chickenpox is contagious, that is, it can easily spread from one individual to another. A person who has chickenpox is most contagious during the first 2 – 5 days. The infected person spreads the virus by coughing, sneezing, laughing, and even talking.
The chickenpox vaccine should preferably be given to children when they are 12 to 15 months old, and the booster shot when they are 4 to 6 years old. The vaccine can also be rendered to adolescents and adults who have not had chickenpox.
Doctors administer an antiviral medication acyclovir to minimize the symptoms in adults. It is important to note that this medicine is only effective within the first 24 hours after being exposed. Children are not required to take this medicine, because apart from being expensive, it isn’t of much help. Calamine lotions and oatmeal baths are used to reduce the itching.
You can care for an infected person by:
- Giving the person a bath or a wet compress every 3 to 4 hours, for the first few days, using cool or lukewarm water.
- Using a dry and clean towel to pat the body dry.
- Applying calamine lotion on areas that itch. (Do take care not to apply calamine lotion near the eyes)
- Providing food that is cold, soft, and bland, and avoiding food that is acidic or very salty.
- Consulting the doctor about medication and treatment you are unsure of.
To discourage children from scratching and causing infections, you could use mittens or socks on their hands, apart from trimming their fingernails and keeping them clean. You should consult a doctor when:
- The fever lasts for more than 4 days.
- The temperature rises above 102 °Fahrenheit
- The blister becomes warm, swollen, sore or has pus.
- The person has a problem looking at bright light.
- There is a persistent cold and breathing issues.
- The person suffers from a stiff neck.
- Faces difficulty walking.
- The person is drowsy and finds staying awake a task.
- The person has an intense headache.
Chickenpox can be treated easily if proper care is taken. Keep these symptoms in mind, so that you can spot it in its early stage itself.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.