Medical Article

Prevention and Protection from Chickenpox

Chickenpox is an infection caused by Vericella-zoster virus. Inflamed pimple-like rashes or spots develop on face of the infected people. Then it turns to itchy blisters of varying sizes. It usually shows up on the face, chest, back and then spread throughout the body. Fever, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite also accompany.
Most commonly, children get chickenpox before the age of 10. To lessen the severity  countries such as USA given immunization on a routine basis.

Causes of Chickenpox
It is an air-borne disease caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus. Most cases occur through contact with an infected person. The virus will be active several days before blister appears, and it remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over. It cans spread through saliva, cough, sneeze, and contact with blisters. Once a person got the disease, they are naturally immune for the rest of their lives. Some people will get shingles, which is a painful skin rash caused with the virus which becomes active again later in life.
Chickenpox is a very contagious infection. Around 90% of people who did not have chickenpox previously will become infected when they come into contact with the virus.

Spreading of the disease
Chickenpox is transmitted from person to person by directly touching the blisters, saliva or mucus of an infected person. The virus can be transmitted through air by coughing and sneezing. Chickenpox can also spread by touching clothes of an infected person. Contact with the person with shingles can also lead to chickenpox if person had not had the disease or had not been vaccinated. The dry and crusted blisters will not spread chickenpox.
After two weeks of incubation period, the virus exhibit symptoms of the disease outside the body. The diseased person is most infectious one to two days before the first appearance of rash and typically lasts till all the blisters have crusted over.

Chickenpox begins with a fever, followed by rashes that can be very itchy. Joint pains, loss of appetite, headache, fatigue, tiredness are common symptoms. Rashes appear on the scalp and face, spreading quickly down the body and onto the arms and legs. The spots start as flat pink spots that turn into small watery blisters. For some people, the rashes spread across their entire body, including the throat, mouth, and even mucous membrane of the urethra, anus and vagina.

Chickenpox rashes have three phases.
Red or pink bumps (papules), which break out over several days.
Fluid-filled small blisters forming raised bumps over about one day before breaking and leaking.
Crust and scabs, which cover the broken blisters and take several more days to heal.

Medical emergency condition
There is some immediate medical attention situations related to chickenpox for which you have to contact your doctor immediately if these complications occur.
If rashes spread around eye area, these rashes become dark red, tender and painful. It denotes a secondary bacterial infection.
You have to take emergency medical advice if you feel dizzy, disoriented, and pain in the chest, shortness of breath, trembling, loss of muscle coordination, worsened cough, persistent vomiting and stiffness in the neck region. Fever shoots up higher than 1030F; there is immune deficient infant below 6 months of age.  Chickenpox affected children show signs of dehydration such as extreme drowsiness, fever, wet diapers and extreme cold.

Complications related to Chickenpox
Necrotizing fasciitis
Necrotizing fasciitis is an extremely rare flesh-eating disease. The complication related to chickenpox lesions cause this disease.
Necrotizing fasciitis caused by different bacteria, severe form of necrotizing soft tissue infections are due to Streptococcus pyogene. The bacteria enter the body through lesions and begin to grow there. It release toxins which kill tissues and affects blood flow. It enters the blood and rapidly spreads through the body.
Shingles is an infection with vericella-zoster virus. After Chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in the nerve cells, years later, the virus may become reactive as shingles. These shingles can be very powerful and it transmit chickenpox virus to less immune people. Early treatment can help shorten a shingle infection and lessen the chance of complications.

Dos & Don’ts
The Vericella vaccine given to both children and adults are useful to prevent onset of the disease. Health care practitioner usually prescribes it to new born infant along with routine vaccine.
Pregnant women, immune deficient people, ill healthy cancer patients and vaccine allergic patients are not encouraged to take the vaccine.
Scratching the blisters cause tears in skin, let the germs enter and cause severe skin infection, so don’t scratch. The pus oozing out of the rash also spread infection to other people.
Under the guidance of a physician take Acetaminophex to prevent fever. Chickenpox patients are not encouraged to take aspiri as it will cause serious illness known as Reye syndrome.
Rest while chickenpox helps to strengthen the immune system and help for a speedy recovery.
Chickenpox is a contagious disease so keep a distance from patients.
To prevent scratching of the blisters put socks on the patients hand at night. Remember to cut the nails.
Neem is good to prevent itching and skin infections. Put some neem leaves in warm water and take bath. Oatmeal also helps to reduce itching.
Applying Calamine lotion will keep the skin moisturized and prevent dryness that could worsen itching.
The pillow covers, bed sheets, mattress etc., used by the patient must be washed with hot water to help disinfection and further spreading of the virus.

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