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Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Chickenpox

Ankit Kumar | October 8, 2018

Unlike other common infections and diseases, Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease and the main characteristic of this disease is the appearance of red blisters all over the skin. This means that it can spread to other people very quickly if they come in contact with the virus causing the infection in the first place. Hence, it becomes extremely important to quarantine the infected person until he/she is treated for this disease. Chickenpox generally lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.


Causes of Chickenpox

This disease is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). It is one of the eight herpes viruses known to infect humans. Chickenpox can spread to others, just like cold or flu. It can spread through the coughs and sneezes of the infected person as the particles remain airborne for a long period of time. It can also spread if someone comes in direct contact with the blisters as they contain traces of this (VZV) virus.


Symptoms of Chickenpox

There are many symptoms of this disease, but some are difficult to identify as it affects a person only once in a lifetime, a second infection is in fact very rarely reported. Some of the common symptoms include.

  1. General weakness or feeling malaise in the body accompanied by fever of upto 102 Fahrenheit.
  2. Red spots start to pop all over the body rapidly developing into the trademark blisters.
  3. Very itchy rashes which can cause a further formation of new blisters just as old ones begin to dry up.
  4. Loss of appetite is one of the most common symptoms 


The Progression of Rashes

RASH – It begins with rashes all over the body but the severity of the formation of rashes varies from one part of the body to another.

SPOTS – These rashes quickly turn into clustered spots on the face, arms, chest, back, hands and on the legs. These spots are small but itchy nonetheless.

BLISTERS – These spots develop into blisters which are very itchy.

DRYING – Within a day or two, these blisters start to dry up forming a crust on the top.

HEALING – It takes 8 to 10 days for the blisters to completely heal and once they do, the crust falls off on their own.


Chickenpox and Pregnancy

There is always a danger of passing on this infection to the baby. If one gets infected within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, it can increase the risk of foetal varicella syndrome. Pregnant women should take preventive measures beforehand and immediately consult the doctor if any such situation arises.


Treatment of Chickenpox

Patients diagnosed with chickenpox are advised to manage their symptoms to lower the discomfort as the virus passes their system. Infected people should remain at home so that they do not spread this virus to other people. The doctor may prescribe antihistamines and ointments to soothe the itchy rashes. Such itching sensation can also be kept under check by taking bath in lukewarm water, wearing light clothes and applying lotions.

Drinking plenty of fluids is a must since consuming a lesser amount of water can cause dehydration.


Prevention of Chickenpox

The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox. A single dose of varicella vaccine provides vaccination to 95% of the moderate diseases.

Image Source – Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, Everyday Health.

Ankit Kumar


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