Chickenpox is a prevalent viral infection that causes immense discomfort for those unlucky enough to catch it. It is extremely contagious and can quickly spread among groups of people. So, clinics advise those who exhibit symptoms to stay quarantined if they suspect they have it. Ninety percent of all cases affect those below two years old; however, older children and adults can still be affected. In this blog, we will examine this condition to know how to take care of a person afflicted by this illness.
What is Chickenpox?
It is a viral infection that causes a high fever and an itchy rash with red blisters all over the body. Over time, the bumps burst and start leaking fluid. Then they form a crust and scab over before healing. Symptoms start appearing 10 to 21 days after making contact with a carrier. A person with chickenpox becomes contagious one to two days before showing signs of the disease and will continue to infect others until all the spots have scabbed.
The disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, one of nine herpes viruses that affect humans. It is passed from an individual to another through touching blisters, saliva, or mucus. The virus can also survive in external environments for a few hours. When it enters the body, it multiplies in the lungs, causing a vast range of symptoms. After the primary infection, it stays dormant in the nerves. While re-activation is rare, it is not unheard of, and when it occurs, there can be neurological issues.
What are the symptoms?
Symptom severity is directly proportional to age, with children being more mildly affected than adults. However, children are at greater risk of infecting their blisters due to difficulty refraining from itching the bumps. When symptoms start to appear in kids, a parent should contact a pediatrician for advice. Adults will need to get in touch with their general practitioners, especially if they have a history of other medical conditions. The following symptoms will appear regardless of a person’s age.
As this is a viral infection, a person will suffer from a high fever.
Loss of appetite
An individual would also not feel inclined to consume food because of a reduced appetite. Children may be seen picking at their food and eating only a few bites of their meal.
There will be a persistent headache with seemingly no cause.
An individual will feel tired and exhausted even if they had sufficient rest.
Red or pink bumps
Small red or pink bumps will appear on a person’s skin and will increase in numbers. These will eventually turn into fluid-filled blisters that will break and scab over.
Is there a treatment?
Most medical centers would allow the virus to run its course, with doctors at most giving patients an ointment to ease the itching sensation. However, if a person is at risk for complications, they will be prescribed antiviral medication. Antibiotics are only given in case bacteria infect the blisters.
Is there a way to prevent it?
There is a vaccine available, which pediatric specialists usually administer to children. This will reduce the likelihood of catching the virus, and in case they do get it, the symptoms will be mild. Two shots of the vaccine are necessary for it to be effective. If a person had chickenpox, they would not need the vaccine, as they usually have life-long protection against the virus.
If a person gets chickenpox, all specialists, including the best pediatrician, recommend staying home and taking care not to itch and break blisters. While most symptoms ease within two weeks, it can lead to bacterial infections and pus formation if one picks at the bumps. If this happens, the scarring can be severe. So, to heal completely, one should practice self-control and quarantine themselves until the contagious period is over.