Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection brought about by the varicella-zoster virus. The characteristic indication of chickenpox is the formation of several itchy blisters throughout the body.
The blisters usually start on the face and trunk before they spread. The blisters filled with fluid eventually open that leads to leakage and scabs form. This can be followed by flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, cough, sneezing and a generalized feeling of being sick.
Prior to the availability of vaccination for chickenpox, most school-age children acquire the disease. When an individual acquires the condition, it is not likely to recur. At the present, with an available vaccine, children are no longer at risk for some of the serious complications.
Aside from the blisters, various symptoms of chickenpox strikingly resemble the flu or cold.
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough and bodily aches)
- Itchy skin
- Generalized feeling of being sick
- Runny nose and sneezing episodes
- Rashes comprised of fluid-filled, red blisters that start on the face and trunk
- Scabbing of the skin blisters
Various factors increase the risk for developing chickenpox such as the following:
- Young age
- Working or attending a daycare or school setting
- No previous exposure to chickenpox
- Close exposure to an infected individual
- Lack of vaccination
Management of chickenpox
The ideal way to manage chickenpox is to avoid it in the first place. An effective and safe vaccine is the varicella-zoster vaccination that can be given alone or combined with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). The immune globulin injections or antiviral medications might be given to immunocompromised individuals or pregnant women.
If an adult or child develops chickenpox, the objective of treatment is to provide relief to the symptoms and prevent any complications. Antiviral medications are given to lower the risk for complications especially those at high risk such as babies, adolescents and those who have weakened immune systems.
In some cases, the sores brought about by chickenpox can become infected which is called a secondary infection. The infection can also occur in the lungs, joints, blood and other parts of the body. In such instances, antibiotics are given.