Viral conditions: Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a prevalent condition caused by varicella zoster. Those who often acquire the virus are young children. When a child acquires the virus, he/she can easily spread the virus to other children. Almost all children acquire the condition but only a few develop serious health issues.

Once a child acquires the condition, he/she will not acquire it again in the future. As for adults who acquire chickenpox, they can become very sick, thus it is considered better to have the disease while still young.

When will my child acquire the condition?

Children can develop chickenpox at any age. After exposure to the disease, the child will appear normal for 1-3 weeks before starting to feel sick. Always bear in mind that children can spread the virus from a day before showing any indications of illness up to about 5 days after a rash manifests.

Chickenpox

The virus spreads via contact with an infected individual, inhaling droplets when an individual coughs or sneezes and being exposed to fluids from the nose, eyes or mouth of an infected individual.

The virus spreads via contact with an infected individual, inhaling droplets when an individual coughs or sneezes and being exposed to fluids from the nose, eyes or mouth of an infected individual.

What are the symptoms?

The indications of chickenpox are quite evident. The signs and symptoms typically occur in the following sequence:

  • Fever, headache and fatigue
  • Stomach ache that lasts for 1-2 days
  • Skin rash that is itchy and appears as small-sized blisters
  • Bumps that are filled with milky-white fluid
  • Formation of scabs after the blisters break
  • Skin appears blotchy and the spots fade away

Management of chickenpox

Always make sure that the child is given enough fluids and rest. Remember that chickenpox vanishes on its own within 1-2 weeks. Measures that can alleviate the symptoms include the following:

  • Apply a cool, damp cloth on the rash
  • Always keep the child cool
  • Apply lotion with antihistamine on the rashes. You can readily find them at pharmacies.
  • Provide the child with an over-the-counter oral antihistamine.
  • Make sure that the child takes a daily shower or bath.

Adults with chickenpox

Once a child acquires chickenpox, the body attempts to fight the disease by producing antibodies. These antibodies fight the virus and help the body recuperate. The antibodies remain in the body throughout an adult’s life. If the adult came in contact with the virus, the antibodies are ready to fight it off.

In rare occasions, adults acquire the disease even if they already had it in the past. Once the virus becomes active again, the condition is called as shingles. Those who have shingles can spread the disease to individuals who have not acquired the condition before.

It is important to note that shingles appears similar to a rash of small-sized bumps. They can be painful and usually take a longer time to fully heal. Shingles eventually vanishes on its own in 1-2 weeks.

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