Chickenpox

Chickenpox is the most common infection in children of age below 12 years. However, the infection can occur at any age. It is a contagious infection and characterized by fluid-filled busters on the skin that are itchy, red, and small.

Symptoms

The classic symptom of chickenpox is an itchy rash. Other chicken pox symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

The rash goes through three phases, raised bump, fluid-filled blister, and crusts or scabs. The rashes can appear anywhere on the body.

The symptoms appear after 10 to 21 days of exposure to the virus, and these symptoms are seen up to five to ten days.

Causes

There are different causes of chicken pox; it is mainly caused by varicella-zoster virus. The infection occurs through air borne transmission and when coming in contact with the infected person. It can spread through saliva (by coughing or sneezing) and contact with blisters.

Risk factors

The risk of chickenpox infection increases if you haven’t had chickenpox infection before. The risk also increases if you are not vaccinated. In rare cases, few people can get this infection more than once.

Complications

Often, chickenpox is a mild disease. However, in few cases, it can be severe and may lead to death. The complications that can be seen are dehydration, pneumonia, bacterial infections of skin, bones, or bloodstream, toxic shock syndrome, and Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome can occur if you take aspirin during chickenpox.

If pregnant women get chickenpox, birth defects may occur such as growth impairment, vision problems, and intellectual disabilities.

The infection may recur in some cases such as shingles.

Diagnosis

Your doctor diagnoses chickenpox by physical examination of the blisters. Blood tests or a culture of lesion samples are also performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Mostly, your doctor may advise to manage the symptoms in healthy children. Your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine to treat itching.

The doctor may give appropriate treatment to reduce the risk of complications. Chickn pox treatment for kids includes an anti-viral drug or immune globulin. These medications shorten the duration of infection and reduce the severity.

Self-management

Taking lukewarm baths and wearing protective, light-weight, and cotton clothing can soothe the symptoms. Instruct your child not to scratch, as infection gets into the skin. Keep your children out of school and daycare to prevent the spread of the infection.

Prevention

Vaccination is the best and safe way for chickenpox prevention. In most cases, the infection is mild. However, it is better to get vaccinated to prevent the infection. The first shot of chickenpox vaccine is given at 12 and 15 months of age, and a booster dose is given between 4 and 6 years of age.

Avoiding contact with infected people can also prevent infection.