Chickenpox: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
Dr. Vishnu Rao
Shivaji nagar, Bengaluru Jul 13, 2019
What is Chickenpox?
If your child has an itchy, uncomfortable rash, then please do not ignore it, it can be chickenpox. Chickenpox is caused by the virus varicella-zoster that infects children below the age of 15, and it can be contagious.
The rashes are visible on the face, back, and chest, and if severe, it spreads to other parts of the body. This can become very uncomfortable for your child.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox?
Red rashes that later develops into red spots which eventually develops into itchy blisters filled with fluid.
Other symptoms which may appear one to two days before the rash, include:
• Fever in the 101°–102°F (38.3°–38.8°C) range
• Constant fatigue
• A constant mild/severe headache
• Loss of appetite
The stages of Chickenpox Rash
The three stages of the chickenpox rash are:
• Red Bumps which breaks out over several days
• Fluid-filled blisters which form in about one day and then break and leak
• Scabs and crusts, which cover the broken blisters and take many days to heal
New bumps continue to appear for several days so that you may have all types of rashes at the same time. The virus can spread to other people for up to 48 hours before the rash appears, and the virus remains contagious until all broken blisters have crusted over.
Note that the rash may spread wider in children with weak immune systems and/or skin disorders like dermatitis, eczema etc.
What are the risk factors and complications of chickenpox?
The risk of getting infected with the varicella-zoster virus is high if you haven’t already had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccine. People who have had chickenpox or have been vaccinated against chickenpox are immune to chickenpox. Sometimes they still get chickenpox, but the symptoms are milder, with fewer blisters and mild or no fever.
Chickenpox is a mild disease, but sometimes it can be severe and can lead to complications such as:
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Inflammation of the brain
- Bacterial infections of the skin, soft tissues, bones, joints
- Reye’s syndrome in children and teenagers who take aspirin during chickenpox
Who is at risk?
People who are at higher risk of chickenpox complication include:
- New-borns and infant whose mother never had chickenpox or the vaccine
- Adolescents and adults
- People who smoke
- Pregnant women who haven’t had chickenpox
- People whose immune systems are weakened by medication, such as chemotherapy
Treatment options for Chickenpox
Let’s rebuke the myth. Antibiotics cannot be used to cure chickenpox as the virus, varicella-zoster cause it. Antibiotics are given to the patient to help them fight any bacterial infection (if present) in the body.
Children vaccinated against chickenpox do not develop (or likely to develop less) shingles as they age. Even if it does happen, the shingles are milder and do not cause any complications.
- Home Remedies
• Neem: The antiviral properties of need leaves can fight the varicella-zoster virus. Soak neem leaves in the water and bathe in it. Even neem tea can help.
• Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps to control the itchy chickenpox rash. Take a spoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and with a cotton ball, apply it to the chickenpox blisters. This helps when your blisters have broken open, and you have open sores.