Chickenpox is a viral infection that causes an itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. The disease is highly contagious and can spread by contact. Young children are at high risk of contracting the infection due to weak immune system. It can also affect adults who have not been infected as a child. Chickenpox causes a mild infection that clears up in a week or so. However, it can be dangerous for some people, such as pregnant women, newborn babies and people with a weak immune system.
Complications include bacterial infections of the skin, soft tissues, bones, joints or bloodstream, dehydration, pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, toxic shock syndrome and Reye's syndrome for people who take aspirin during chickenpox.
There is no medication for this viral infection. However, the doctor may prescribe over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to relieve fever and discomfort. The patient should avoid itching and scratch the blisters as this can spread the infection ad leave permanent marks on the skin.
The doctor may recommend calamine lotion, moisturizing lotions or cooling gels to soothe the itching. Neem leaves are a natural antiseptic that can be used to relieve the itching and discomfort. Fluid intake should be increased to avoid dehydration. The patient should avoid work or school and be secluded until the symptoms disappear completely to prevent the spread of infection.
The chickenpox vaccine is a safe, effective way to prevent chickenpox and its possible complications. Most children are inoculated at a young age.
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