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.
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.
- 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.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.