Chicken Pox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, which belongs to the herpes group of viruses. Chicken Pox usually starts out with body aches, loss of appetite, and fever. After a couple of days, a rash of red spots usually appears on the back or chest. These spots quickly become blisters that spread to the rest of the body. These blisters will open, then scab over within several days. The rash may then continue for 4 or more days longer, depending on how long it takes for the lesions to scab over and heal. Chicken Pox are very itchy, and are generally accompanied by swollen lymph nodes and a sore throat. These are the common questions associated with Chicken Pox:
Who Can Get Chickenpox? Chicken Pox most often occurs in childhood, but can be contracted by adults if they didn’t have it when they were a child. It’s unlikely that a person will have Chicken Pox more than once, however.
Is Chicken Pox contagious? Chicken pox is contagious either through direct contact with the fluid-filled blisters, or by inhaling the virus through airborne fluid particles. A person with chicken pox is contagious from 2 days prior to the rash appearing, until all of the lesions have scabbed over.
What is Shingles? How is Shingles related to Chicken Pox? Although it is rare for a person to have Chicken pox more than once, the virus may reappear as Shingles years later. Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, varicella-zoster, and can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox at some point in their lives. The virus is thought to be stored in nerve cells near the spinal cord, long after the Chicken Pox symptoms have vanished. It remains there until a weakened immune system allows it to escape, or reactivate.
What are the symptoms of Shingles? Shingles often begins as a tingling pain just under the skin, and is sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation, itching, and muscle weakness. A rash of small blisters develops several days after the pain starts, usually on one side of the body, most often on the face or chest. These blisters generally scab over and heal within a couple of weeks, but the pain can sometimes persist for weeks or months afterward. While Chicken Pox is very common and is considered a relatively mild illness, Shingles is more severe and can have long-lasting effects.
Precautions for Chicken Pox
Chicken Pox is a disease that is quite difficult to control and highly infectious. Great measures should be taken in order to make sure that it does not spread, especially when vaccination is not available. When a child is infected with Chicken Pox, they should be separated from other children, and grown ups who have not suffered from Chicken Pox yet.
It is possible that they can infect others before the spots are first noticed or all the spots are crusted. When all the spots have crusted, they may be allowed to go out and play with other children. There are some who believe that they continue to be infectious on this stage. However, this is not true, and the infectious stage ends when the scabs have begun to dry out.
Chicken Pox Risk Groups
The best prevention for chicken pox is to get the varicella vaccine. There are basically three groups when it comes to those prone to the Chicken Pox virus.
- Children 12 months to 6 years- There are two doses of the varicella vaccine. The first is for infants 12 to 15 months of age, and the next will be for those between the ages of 4 and 6 years. this is scheduled along the routine childhood immunization.
- Unvaccinated children- For children aged 7 to 12 who were not able to receive the two shots of varicella vaccine, they are able to get the catch-up doses that may be given at least three months apart. For those that are aged 13 and above who were not able to receive the vaccine, catch-up may also be given with at least four weeks apart between the two shots.
- Unvaccinated adults who have never had Chicken Pox. There are some adults who have not yet experienced having Chicken Pox, and are at high risk exposure like teachers, child care employees, or even just adult living with young children. Adults may also take advantage of the catch-up vaccine. It may be taken four to eight weeks apart. It may not be impossible that you do not remember if you’ve ever had this type of vaccine. A simple blood test can determine your immunity to the virus.
Possible Complications of Chicken Pox
Chicken Pox is not normally a serious disease. However, you need to take precautions in order to avoid possible complications. One of the possible scenarios could be the blisters getting infected and containing pus. Other complications like pneumonia and encephalitis rarely occur, which is good news. However, if you are pregnant, and you get infected with chicken pox during the delivery, there are chances that the baby may suffer from a birth defect.
During and right after getting infected with Chicken Pox, it is also advisable to stay away from the heat of the sun. during that time, your skin is more susceptible to skin diseases and sunburn.