Chickenpox is a common viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster. It causes itchy rashes with small, fluid-filled blisters over the skin. The disease is highly contagious to people who have not had the disease or been vaccinated against it. Today, the vaccine against chickenpox is available that protects children against the infection.
The chickenpox vaccine is an effective and safe way to prevent chickenpox infection and its further complications.
The itchy blister rashes caused by chickenpox infection develop ten to twenty days after being exposed to the virus and usually lasts for about five to ten days. The most common signs and symptoms, which may appear, include:
One or two days after experiencing these symptoms, the classic red skin rash will begin to develop. The rash is usually severely itchy and irritable. It often forms on the face, scalp, chest, back, and, to a lesser extent, on the arms and legs. The rash goes through three phases before an individual recovers. These phases are as follows:
The bumps on the body will not be in the same phase at the same time. New bumps will continuously appear throughout the infection.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox infection. Most cases of this infection occur through contact with an infected person. The virus is contagious. The illness remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over. The virus can spread through:
The virus spreads very easily. One can get the virus by breathing into particles that come from chickenpox blisters or by touching something on which the particles have already landed.
Chickenpox is most contagious from 1 to 2 days before the appearance of the rash until all the blisters are dried and crusted.
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus is to get a vaccination against varicella virus.
Chickenpox is usually considered a mild disease. But it can be severe and lead to complications such as:
Rarely, someone will get chickenpox more than once. The vast majority of the time, chickenpox only affects people once (usually in their childhood). Individuals who are at higher risk of developing chickenpox complications include:
Most people diagnosed with chickenpox infection will be advised to cope up with their symptoms while they wait for the virus to flush out through their system. Parents and guardians will be told to keep children out of school and day-care to prevent the spread of the virus. In the same way, infected adults will also need to stay home.
The doctor may prescribe some antihistamine medications or topical ointments to help relieve itching. The person can also soothe itching skin by:
The chickenpox (varicella) vaccination is the best way someone can prevent chickenpox. The vaccine ensures strong protection from the virus if full doses are administered. If the vaccine does not offer complete protection, it significantly reduces the severity of chickenpox.
The chickenpox vaccine is recommended for:
Young children under age 13 years should get two doses of the vaccine:
Older Children Who Are Unvaccinated
Children between 7 to 12 years who have not been vaccinated should receive two doses of the vaccine, given at least three months apart.
Children age 13 years or older who have not been vaccinated should also receive two doses of the vaccine, given at least four weeks apart.
Adults who have never had chickenpox, are unvaccinated against chickenpox or are at high risk of exposure:
Adults who never had chickenpox or been vaccinated typically receive two doses of the vaccine, four to eight weeks apart. If an individual does not remember about chickenpox or the vaccine, a blood test can determine their immunity.
These adults include health care professionals, child care employees, teachers, travelers, military personnel, adults who live with young children, and women of childbearing age.
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