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Author Topic: Chickenpox  (Read 280 times)

Rosy

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Chickenpox
« on: April 01, 2018, 09:07:51 pm »
        Chickenpox
Also known as varicella, chickenpox is a virus that often affects children. It is characterized by itchy red blisters that appear all over the body. Chickenpox was once so common it was considered a childhood rite of passage. It is well known that once you have chickenpox, you (almost) never have it again.

Since the chickenpox vaccine was introduced in the mid-1990s, cases have declined.

What Causes Chickenpox?

The varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox. Most cases occur through contact with an infected person. The virus may be contagious several days before blisters appear, and it remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over. It is spread through saliva, coughing, sneezing, and contact with blisters.

Who Is at Risk?

Exposure to the virus through previous infection, vaccination, or immunity passed from mother to newborn (immunity lasts about three months from birth) reduces risk. Anyone who has not been exposed may contract the virus. Risk increases under any of these conditions:

You have had recent contact with an infected individual.
You are under 12 years of age.
You are an adult residing with children.
You have spent time in a school or childcare facility.
Your immune system is compromised due to illness or medications.
Relieving Symptoms

Most individuals diagnosed with chickenpox will be advised to control comfort while waiting for the virus to pass through the system. Parents will be told to keep children out of school and daycare to prevent spread of the virus. Infected adults will also be told to stay home.

Antihistamine medications or topical ointments may be prescribed or purchased over the counter to relieve itching. If you or your child is uncomfortable, any of these may soothe the skin:

lukewarm baths
regular application of unscented lotion
wearing lightweight, soft clothing
High-Risk Patients

Antiviral drugs may be prescribed to those who experience complications from the virus, or who are at risk for adverse effects. High-risk patients are usually young, elderly, or have underlying medical issues. These antiviral drugs do not cure chickenpox. Instead, they make the symptoms less severe, and make your body more likely to heal faster.

Possible complications of chickenpox include pneumonia and skin infections. These can be treated at home with antibiotics. Hospitalization may be needed in severe cases.

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