Chickenpox disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. In this disease, itchy rashes are formed with fluid-filled blisters. Chickenpox spreads very easily among people who have not had the disease before or who have not been vaccinated against Chickenpox disease.
Earlier this disease (chickenpox) used to be a widespread problem, but today its vaccine is available which can be administered to children on time. Due to which it remains safe.
The Chickenpox disease vaccine is a safe way to prevent the disease and other health problems that occur during it.
- How is chickenpox spread?
- This virus spreads:
- Reason :
- Home remedies for people suffering from Chickenpox disease:
- over-the-counter medications:
- Treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider for people with chickenpox:
- What is the difference between smallpox and chickenpox?
- How can I help my child with chickenpox?
- Can my child be vaccinated against chickenpox?
- What should I know about the chickenpox vaccine?
How is chickenpox spread?
Children can get chickenpox at any age. After exposure to Chickenpox disease, your child may look fine for one to three weeks before starting to feel sick. Children can spread the virus from one day before symptoms of illness appear until about five days after the skin rash appears.
This virus spreads:
When we come in contact with someone who has Chickenpox disease.
Breathing in air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Coming in contact with fluids from the eyes, nose or mouth of an infected child.
A virus called varicella-zoster causes Chickenpox disease.
It can be spread by direct contact with an infected person’s rash. It can also spread when someone with chickenpox coughs or sneezes, causing you to breathe infected air.
If you have not already had chickenpox or have not received the Chickenpox disease vaccine, your risk of becoming infected with the virus that causes Chickenpox disease is higher. It is extra important for people who work in child care or school settings to get vaccinated.
Most people who have had chickenpox or have been vaccinated are immune to Chickenpox disease. If you have been vaccinated and still get Chickenpox disease, the symptoms are often mild. You may also have less blisters and a mild fever. But it is not necessary that there be fever. Sometimes there is not even fever. Some people may get Chickenpox disease more than once, but this is rare.
Chickenpox disease is often a mild illness. But it can be serious and lead to other health problems, including:
Infected skin, soft tissue, bones, joints, or bloodstream due to bacteria.
Dehydration, when the body becomes too dehydrated and loses other fluids.
Pneumonia, a disease of one or both lungs.
Inflammation of the brain called encephalitis.
Toxic shock syndrome, a dangerous complication of some diseases caused by bacteria.
,Reye syndrome, a disease that causes inflammation in the brain and liver. This syndrome can occur in children and adolescents who take aspirin during Chickenpox disease.
In very rare cases, Chickenpox disease can cause death.
The rash caused by Chickenpox disease appears 10 to 21 days after exposure to the varicella-zoster virus. The rash often lasts for 5 to 10 days.
Other symptoms that may appear 1 to 2 days before the rash appears:-
loss of appetite.
Feeling of tiredness and malaise in the body.
Once the chickenpox rash appears, it goes through three stages:
Raised bumps, called papules, which burst within a few days.
Small fluid-filled blisters, called vesicles, form in about a day and then burst and leak.
Scrusts and scabs, which cover the broken ulcers and take a few more days to heal.
New bumps remain visible for several days. So you may get blisters, ulcers and scabs at the same time. You can spread the virus to other people up to 48 hours before the rash appears. -And the virus remains infectious until all the broken blisters are gone.
This disease is usually mild in healthy children. But sometimes, the rash can cover the entire body. Sometimes blisters start forming in the throat and eyes. Those blisters can sometimes also form in the tissues inside the urethra, anus, and vagina
Smallpox and Ringworm:
If you have had Chickenpox disease, you are at risk for a complication called shingles. Even after the Chickenpox disease rash heals, the varicella-zoster virus remains in your nerve cells. After several years, the virus may become active again and cause shingles, a painful cluster of blisters. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get the virus again.
The pain of shingles can persist for a long time even after the blisters go away and can even become severe. This is called postherpetic neuralgia.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get the shingles vaccine, Shingrix, if you are age 50 or older. The agency also recommends Shingrix if you are 19 years of age or older and have a weakened immune system due to illness or treatment. Shingrix is also recommended if you already have shingles or have received an older shingles vaccine, Zostavax.
Other shingles vaccines are offered outside the United States. Talk to your provider for more information about how well they prevent herpes.
Chickenpox disease vaccine, also called varicella vaccine, is the best way to prevent Chickenpox disease. In the United States, CDC experts report that two doses of the vaccine prevent the disease in more than 90% of cases. Even if you get chickenpox after getting the vaccine, your symptoms may be very mild.
In the United States, two Chickenpox disease vaccines are licensed for use: Verivax contains the only Chickenpox disease vaccine. It can be used in the United States to vaccinate people ages 1 year and older.
ProQuad combines the Chickenpox disease vaccine with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines. It can be used in children ages 1 to 12 years in the United States. It is also called MMRV vaccine.
In the United States, children are given two doses of varicella vaccine: the first between 12 and 15 months of age and the second between 4 and 6 years of age. It is part of the routine vaccination schedule for children.
For some children ages 12 to 23 months, the MMRV combination vaccine may increase the risk of fever and seizures. Ask your child’s health care provider about the advantages and disadvantages of using combined vaccines.
Children ages 7 to 12 who have not been vaccinated should receive two doses of varicella vaccine. Doses should be given at intervals of at least three months.
People 13 years of age or older who have not been vaccinated should receive two catch-up doses of the vaccine at least four weeks apart. It is even more important to get vaccinated if you are at high risk of getting Chickenpox disease. This includes health care workers, teachers, child care workers, international travelers, military personnel, adults living with young children, and all non-pregnant women of childbearing age.
If you don’t remember whether you got chickenpox or the vaccine, your provider can test your blood to find out.
Other chickenpox vaccines are offered outside the United States. Talk to your health care provider for more information about how well they prevent chickenpox.
Do not get the Chickenpox disease vaccine if you are pregnant. If you decide to get vaccinated before pregnancy, do not try to get pregnant during the vaccine series or until one month after the last dose of the vaccine.
Rest of the people should also not get vaccinated, or should wait. Ask your health care provider if you should get the vaccine if you:
Have a weak immune system. This includes people who have HIV or take medications that affect the immune system.
If you are allergic to gelatin or antibiotic neomycin etc.
Having any type of cancer or undergoing cancer treatment with radiation or medicines.
Recently received blood or other blood products from a donor.
If you’re not sure whether you need the vaccine, talk to your provider. –If you are planning to become pregnant, ask your provider if vaccines are available to you.
Home remedies for people suffering from Chickenpox disease:
There are several things you can do at home to help relieve Chickenpox disease symptoms and prevent skin infections.
1. Calamine Lotion
Cold bath can help in providing some relief from itching. Try to keep nails short and minimize scratching to help prevent spreading the virus to others and prevent skin infections. If you accidentally scratch a blister, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Female doctor examines laughing child
Do not use aspirin or aspirin-containing products to relieve chickenpox fever. Aspirin use in children with chickenpox has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a serious disease that affects the liver and brain and can cause death. Instead, use non-aspirin medications like acetaminophen.
This helps provide relief from chickenpox fever. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding treatment with ibuprofen if possible because it has been linked to life-threatening bacterial skin infections.
Treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider for people with chickenpox:
Antiviral medications are recommended for people with chickenpox who are more likely to develop severe disease, including:
Healthy people at least 12 years of age.
People with chronic skin or lung disease.
People receiving any therapy (salicylate therapy or steroid therapy) for a long time.
people who are pregnant.
People with weak immune systems.
There are licensed antiviral medications to treat chickenpox. The medicine works best if it is given as soon as possible, preferably within the first 24 hours after the rash starts. See Acyclovir treatment for more information.
What is the difference between smallpox and chickenpox?
Chickenpox and smallpox are both diseases that cause skin rashes, but they are different. For one thing, smallpox is a far more serious disease, causing severe illness and death. They are caused by various viruses.
While both diseases cause rashes, the rashes themselves develop at different times and the rashes look different. While chickenpox rashes look similar to each other, chickenpox rashes develop in waves. Different spots do not look alike and some may scab over while others may still blister.
How can I help my child with chickenpox?
Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and fluids during illness. Chickenpox will heal on its own in a week or two. To help your child reduce itching, you can try the following measures:-
Press a cool, wet cloth on the rash.
Keep your baby cool.
Explain to your child not to scratch and stop him from scratching. Keep children’s nails trimmed so that they do not scratch
Apply lotion containing antihistamine on the rash. These lotions are available at the drugstore. If you don’t know which product to buy, ask the pharmacist for help.
Give your child an over-the-counter (OTC) form of an antihistamine. OTC antihistamines, two examples are diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) and cetirizine (Zyrtec®).
Advise your child to take bath or shower with cold water every day. Or you can also give an oatmeal bath, please get this done for them.
Don’t rub them with the towel while you dry them. Pat your baby dry.
Do not give aspirin to your child. Aspirin can harm children suffering from fever. If your child needs pain relief, use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®). -If you are not sure which product to use, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Give your child fluids to prevent dehydration. If they have mouth ulcers, cool fluids and a bland soft diet will help.
Can my child be vaccinated against chickenpox?
Yes, there is a vaccine for chickenpox. It’s recommended, so ask your healthcare provider about the vaccine.
What should I know about the chickenpox vaccine?
Two doses are recommended. When your child is under 13 years of age, he or she should receive one dose between 12 and 15 months of age and the second dose between four and six years of age.
If you are 13 years of age or older and have never had a vaccine, you should receive two doses at least 28 days apart.
There is only one vaccine for chickenpox called Varivax®. There is another drug called ProQuad® that protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV).
Vaccination is more than 90% effective in preventing chickenpox.
Rest as much as possible. Try not to touch skin with chickenpox. And consider wearing a face mask over your nose and mouth in public. Chickenpox is highly contagious until the skin ulcers have completely ripened.