Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The infection primarily affects the skin of the individual, causing red fluid-filled blisters that are itchy. Some of the most common symptoms of this infection include fever, fatigue, body aches, loss of appetite, and malaise.
Generally chickenpox is not very serious or life-threatening. Therefore, doctors usually allow it to run its course. Although this infection primarily affects children, it can also affect adults who haven’t had it when they were young or who aren’t vaccinated against it.
Since chickenpox manifests in the form of fluid-filled blisters that are prone to bursting, it is highly contagious. It is recommended to minimise contact with infected individuals.
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The most common symptom of chickenpox is a red, itchy rash. The symptoms appear within 10 to 21 days after you have contracted the virus. There are other symptoms such as -
There are three stages in which the infection progresses:
You develop the rashes. They might also be bumps that might appear pink or red. These are called ‘papules’. They appear all over your body.
The second phase is when over the next few days the papules will turn into fluid-filled small blisters. These are called the ‘vesicles’ and can last for about a day before they start popping and leaking.
In the third and final phase, the open wounds will crust over and turn into scabs. Until all the spots crust, you can spread this virus to other people. Moreover, it may also happen that new papules might keep coming, which means that you may have bumps, blisters and scabs all at the same time. It takes 7 to 14 days for the scabs to disappear completely.
The following table gives a detailed overview of the symptoms of chickenpox in babies and adults.
Chickenpox in Adults
Symptoms of Chickenpox in Adults
If you are an adult who has acquired chickenpox for the first time, the symptoms for the same are as follows:
Further, you may experience a rash that becomes a tell-tale symptom of chickenpox. People who have received chickenpox vaccine before can still experience mild symptoms. Doctors refer to this as the ‘breakthrough chickenpox’.
Chickenpox in Babies
Symptoms of Chickenpox in Babies
A few signs of chickenpox in babies are as follows:
Babies with chickenpox may not develop fever due to a less developed immune system, and hence their body does not respond to infections by raising its temperature.
As mentioned above, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox infection. The common way of transmission is when one comes in contact with the infected person. If you have contracted the virus, it is contagious to those around you until 1 or 2 days before the blisters appear.
Until all the blisters are crusted, the virus is contagious. It can spread through -
Any person who has not been exposed to the virus and/or isn't vaccinated for the same before can contract it.
If you find rashes on your body accompanied with cold and fever, out of the blue, then you should immediately consult a doctor. A physical examination of the rashes and blisters will help the doctor determine whether you have contracted the virus. For further confirmation, the doctor might also prescribe some blood tests or a test of lesion samples.
In terms of healthy children or adults, chickenpox needs no treatment. However, the doctor will guide you to do the following:
Once you have contracted the virus and have healed from it, you also become immune to the virus.
Here’s how chickenpox can be prevented:
Getting the chickenpox vaccine is one of the safest ways to prevent the infection. The vaccine provides optimum protection from the virus if taken in the recommended doses. Moreover, it lessens the severity of the infection significantly. However, pregnant women, people with weak immunity due to HIV or cancer, and people who are allergic to gelatin to neomycin should avoid taking the vaccine.
If you know someone who has contracted the virus, it is best to stay away from the person to avoid any transmission. Avoid touching or wearing clothes of the infected person without washing them clean first. If your child has contracted the virus, keep him out of the school for a few days.
The treatment for chickenpox can be easily done through the doctor’s guidance. It is always recommended to get yourself, and your children vaccinated. However, if you contract the virus, contact your insurance advisor to check if this condition is included in your health insurance cover. If yes, you can get yourself treated without any financial stress.
It is highly important to contain the spread of the virus by quarantining yourself or your child. Maintain good hygiene, do not scratch the itch and let the virus run its course. You will be healed in a few days after the initial symptoms.