Also known as Varicella, chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the spread of the Varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Chickenpox usually affects children between the age of 5-10 years. A person who gets chickenpox once in his/her lifetime is not likely to get it ever again. Chickenpox is usually determined by large red spots on the body. Chickenpox is not that severe a condition and can be secured within a week or two. There is no particular cause behind chickenpox apart from coming in contact with varicella virus. Chickenpox in children may be caused if the child is not vaccinated against the disease. Children with weak immune systems are more likely to catch it. The reason why chickenpox lasts only for some days is because the virus becomes dormant quickly after affecting the tissues. This is exactly opposite to what happens in other diseases. Chickenpox is communicable and can be transmitted either from the skin to skin or through coughing, sneezing etc.
Symptoms of chickenpox
Appearance of itchy rashes on the body is the most evident symptom of chickenpox. Rashes first begin to appear at the trunk and head area. You may not be able to foresee a rash but it might start to show itself after a mild fever, paining muscles, reduce appetite, and create a feeling of nausea and weakness. Gradually, rashes start growing in the body and lead to formation of spots. The spots usually appear on chest, face, limbs, and stomach. They might be really itchy and sometimes unbearable. The spots may also tend to develop blisters. These blisters may produce ulcers inside the mouth, eyelids and area between the thighs. In about 7 days, the blisters dry out and begin to heal. In rare cases, chickenpox may also cause difficulty in breathing.
Complications of chickenpox
Complications of chickenpox are more serious in children as compared to adults. Pregnant women, infants and those with a weak immune system are prone to chickenpox complications. The condition becomes more complicated when the blisters catch infection. Infection in case of chickenpox may lead to pneumonia. Even though this disease is not very dangerous, it may still hold the potential to cause Encephalitis. Encephalitis is a condition which may cause inflammation in the brain. Chickenpox may also lead to Reye’s syndrome — which may cause swelling in liver and brain. However, people recover from these complications of chickenpox over time.
Prevention of chickenpox
Chickenpox can be prevented through vaccination. The chickenpox vaccine is known as the Varicella vaccine. It must be given to children at the right age. It is a safe vaccination with no side effects and guarantees 90% prevention of chickenpox. This vaccine is given in two shots.
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