What is Chickenpox?
Varicella-zoster, quite commonly known as Chickenpox, is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It generates 200-400 rashes in the form of blisters on the entire body. Studies indicate that young children, babies, pregnant women, and people with a low immune system are more vulnerable to the disease. However, it can affect adults too. Chickenpox is highly infectious; people with no record of chickenpox and no vaccination are at risk of getting it at any stage in life. Chickenpox is a mild disease. However, the blister in chickenpox can spread to body parts such as the eyes, nose, tongue, and even genitals. The best thing about chickenpox is that once the person has the disease, they may never contract it again, as the vaccine developed for this disease is remarkably effective.
The chickenpox vaccine was launched in the United States of America in 1995. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, recommends a routine-based vaccination approach to combat the disease.
It is straightforward to catch the symptoms and signs of chickenpox. The primary symptom of chickenpox is a rash that starts coming on the patient’s back, stomach, and neck. These rashes turn into itchy blisters and gradually spread to other body parts within 4-5 days. These blisters, including fever, loss of appetite, headache, tiredness, itchiness, and more, accompany other signs. The process of healing from chickenpox lasts for 8-10 days.
Chickenpox goes through three phases:
- First Phase: In this phase, patients tend to develop itchy, pink, and red blisters, soon spreading to the complete body. These are called Papules in the medical term
- Second Phase: Patients may feel these developed blisters are breaking and leaking in this phase. These blisters are known as vesicles
- Third Phase: In this phase, these blisters will become an open wound and then turn into scabs
Rashes, blisters, and scabs may happen to an individual simultaneously. There is a higher chance of transmission to other people within the next 48 hours once the blister starts appearing.
Chickenpox is caused by encountering thevaricella-zoster virus. Further, it can also spread by coming into contact with a direct rash and the person who has chicken pox, especially when they sneeze and cough. There are higher chances of getting chicken pox when in contact with the varicella-zoster virus when you have not had chickenpox. People vaccinated against chicken pox have a lower chance of getting it in a lifetime; however, even if they get it, the symptoms will be very mild, with a few blisters and low or no fever.
Chickenpox signs and symptoms are mild; however, in some cases, complications may arise, as highlighted below:
- Skin infection
- Brain Inflammation
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Reye’s syndrome in children and teenagers who take aspirin during chickenpox
How to heal chicken pox faster?
Highlighted below are some of the measures that you may take to heal chicken pox faster:
- Apply calamine lotion to the scars to soothe the itching
- Use baking soda while bathing to get relief from itching
- Applying ice packs to the sores
- Consuming sugar-free popsicles may provide aid to the chicken pox sores in the mouth
- Use chamomile tea as it is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties to heal the sores
- If you feel any pain due to blisters, you may take painkillers as advised by your doctor
Treating Chickenpox at Home: So many remedies can be performed at home to treat chickenpox and prevent further skin infections. Patients can apply Calamine lotion and take a cool bath with uncooked oatmeal, which helps reduce the itching and feel relieved. Patients are highly advised not to scratch the blisters as they can leave marks on the skin and bleed, making it worse. Furthermore, practicing isolation for a few days is a promising idea, as this helps prevent the further spread of the diseases.
Consulting the Doctor: Seeking advice from the doctor is always beneficial. People with chickenpox can consult healthcare professionals if the following conditions exist:
- The patient is pregnant
- Patient has low immunity system; people who have HIV, cancer, or have gone undergone any transplant
- Patients such as kids less than one year, and is pregnant, etc., are at risk of developing serious complications
- Fever is high such as 102 degrees, and lasts more than four days
- Vomiting and Fatigue
- Change in color, breaking up, and bleeding of blisters
How to prevent Chickenpox?
The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get vaccinated against chickenpox. The chickenpox vaccine is available and prescribed for children, adolescents, and adults. People are advised to be double vaccinated. The vaccine is super effective in combating the disease; most vaccinated people have no chance of getting Chickenpox again. In rare scenarios, if a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, the symptoms are very mild, with fewer blisters and no fever. The United States of America has achieved a 90% decrease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in chickenpox cases, hospitalizations, and deaths since the varicella vaccination.
Is Chickenpox the same as Smallpox?
There may be a similarity between chickenpox and smallpox, as people get rashes in both. However, there is a stark difference between the two. Smallpox is deadlier than chickenpox, as it causes severe illness, and two distinct viruses cause them. Furthermore, as per the global vaccination program, smallpox has been eradicated.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Once diagnosed with chickenpox, it is easily manageable at home; patients need to take medications on time, practice isolation for a few days, and rest completely. However, in some cases, people often consult the General Physician.
Is Varicella the chickenpox Vaccine?
Varicella vaccination is the most common vaccination for chickenpox and is highly effective in protecting people from catching chickenpox. It is known as the varicella vaccine because the varicella virus causes chickenpox.
Disclaimer: This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content presented on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise. We advise you to book an appointment with the doctor for any doubts.