Chicken pox, known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease caused by initial infection with varicella zoster virus. The disease results in a characteristic skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters, which eventually scab over. It usually starts on the chest, back, and face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms may include fever, feeling tired and headaches. Symptoms usually last for five to ten days.
HOW IS CHICKENPOX DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis by a general physician is primarily based on the signs and symptoms with typical early symptoms followed by a characteristic rash. Confirmation of the diagnosis is by examination of the fluid within the vesicles of the rash, or by testing blood for evidence of an acute immunologic response.
HOW IS CHICKENPOX TREATED?
Aciclovir is an anti viral drug that may be prescribed by the general surgeon for adults and pregnant women in particular, for relief from the painful symptoms of the condition. Also, a medicated calamine cream or ointment can be prescribed for relief from itching and soothing of sores.
DID YOU KNOW?
Chicken pox accompanied by other symptoms like stiff neck or lethargy indicates a more serious medical condition that requires immediate medical help
Chicken pox, caused by the varicella zoster virus, is a very infectious disease. It is airborne and may be transmitted through droplet infection through the coughs, sneezes as well as blister discharges of the patient. Chickenpox is usually mild and has a course of 5-10 days.
Chickenpox is typically characterized by the appearance of skin rash and itchy blisters. Some other symptoms of chickenpox include:
• Rashes in the oral cavity, especially in children.
• Aching muscles, headache, loss of appetite and nausea.
• Intense itchiness.
• Bumps, blisters and pustules.
• Low fever.
Chickenpox prevention involves measures like disinfection by heat, chlorine bleach and detergents which successfully eliminate the virus.
Doctors also often recommend chicken pox vaccines. Even if a person if infected with chickenpox after the vaccination, the symptoms are milder than usual.
Chicken pox treatment mainly aims to relieve the discomfort and reduce the symptoms.
• Paracetamol is prescribed to reduce fever and as a painkiller. People susceptible to severe complications may be administered doses of intramuscular varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG).
• Patients are kept in strict confinement and advised to stay at home to avoid transmission of the infection to other people. Even the blisters of chickenpox are highly infectious.
• To soothe the rashes, calamine lotion is often applied with excellent results. To maintain hygiene, the skin of the patient is washed with warm water to eliminate chances of bacterial infection completely.
• The nails of patients, particularly children, are clipped off to reduce chances of secondary infection by excessive scratching. Gloves may also be used.
In children, chickenpox treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms without affecting the immune system of the body. Children below 16 years of age are not administered any dose of aspirin since it causes Reye Syndrome. Antiviral drugs are not permitted unless the children are exposed to secondary viral infection.
The onset of infection in otherwise healthy adults can cause severe complications thus leading to the following conditions:
• Direct viral or secondary bacterial hepatitis.
• Direct viral or secondary bacterial pneumonia.
• Direct viral or secondary bacterial bronchitis.
Within 48 hours of the appearance of rashes, antiviral drugs are administered to prevent the incidence of these primary or secondary infections. Patients are advised to drink more water to reduce chances of dehydration and headaches. Antihistamines are administered to relieve the itching as well as in the form of sedatives to enable the patient to sleep.
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