Chickenpox is a common illness among kids, particularly those under age 12. An itchy rash of spots that look like blisters can appear all over the body and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. About one of every 100 children infected with chickenpox will develop a severe lung infection (pneumonia), an infection of the brain (encephalitis), or a problem with the liver. Adolescents and adults who develop chickenpox are also at high risk of developing serious complications. After a person has chickenpox, the virus typically lives silently in the nervous system of the body for the rest of a person's life. It may reactivate (come to life again) at any time when the body's immune defenses are weakened by stress or illness (such as cancer or HIV infection) or by medications that weaken the immune system.
Later in life, viruses remaining dormant in the nerves can reactivate causing localised eruptions of shingles. This occurs particularly in people with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, and perhaps even those suffering sunburn. Unlike chickenpox which normally fully settles, shingles may result in persisting post-herpetic neuralgia pain.
Causes of Chicken Pox
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It can spread easily. You can get it from an infected person who sneezes, coughs, or shares food or drinks. You can also get it if you touch the fluid from a chickenpox blister.
A person who has chickenpox can spread the virus even before he or she has any symptoms. Chickenpox is most easily spread from 2 to 3 days before the rash appears until all the blisters have crusted over.
Symptoms of Chicken Pox
# A rash that usually begins on the body and face and later often spreads to the scalp and limbs.
# It may also spread to the mucous membranes especially in the mouth and on the genitals.
# The rash is often itchy.
# It begins as small red spots which develop into blisters in a couple of hours.
# After one or two days, the blisters turn into scabs.
# New blisters may appear after three to six days.
# The number of blisters differs greatly from one person to another.
Is there a treatment for chickenpox?
In 1992, acyclovir was approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of chickenpox in healthy children. However, because chickenpox tends to be mild in healthy children, most physicians do not feel that it is necessary to prescribe acyclovir.
Taking good care of the skin and not itching may prevent infections that can be caused by bacteria that get into the skin. Your doctor may recommend a cream to help reduce the itch.
Can you catch chickenpox again once you have had it?
In most cases, getting chickenpox once means you will not get it again. This is called life-long immunity. But in rare cases, a person might get it again.
About the author:
Read out for Medical information. Check out blood pressure and stress