Causes of Chicken Pox
Varicella, otherwise known as chicken pox, is a generalized infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. It is an extremely contagious disease that is characterized by a blistery rash. It occurs most frequently in children, between the ages of five and eight. Less than 20 percent of all cases in the U.S. affect people over the age of 15. Chicken pox is transmitted so easily that almost everyone gets the disease.Definition of Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Varicella, otherwise known as chicken pox, is a generalized infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. It is an extremely contagious disease that is characterized by a blistery rash. It occurs most frequently in children, between the ages of five and eight. Less than 20 percent of all cases in the U.S. affect people over the age of 15. Chicken pox is transmitted so easily that almost everyone gets the disease.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious illness caused by primary infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV). It generally begins with conjunctival and catarrhal symptoms and then characteristic spots appearing in two or three waves, mainly on the body and head rather than the hands and becoming itchy raw pockmarks, small open sores which heal mostly without scarring.
Chickenpox is very common in children, and it tends to only cause mild illness (for more information see Related topics). Once you have had chickenpox, you usually become immune to it for life, although on rare occasions people can catch it again.
Causes of Chicken Pox
In a typical scenario, a young child is covered in pox and out of school for a week. The first half of the week the child feels miserable from intense itching; the second half from boredom. Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, classic chickenpox is much less common.
Chickenpox is extremely contagious, and can be spread by direct contact, droplet transmission, and airborne transmission. Even those with mild illness after the vaccine may be contagious.
When someone becomes infected, the pox usually appear 10 to 21 days later. People become contagious 1 to 2 days before breaking out with pox. They remain contagious while uncrusted blisters are present.
A person who has chickenpox can transmit the virus for up to 48 hours before the telltale rash appears and remains contagious until all spots crust over.
The Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox. The disease is highly contagious -- over 90% of nonimmune individuals will develop chickenpox following exposure. VZV is communicable by both direct skin-to-skin contact and via respiratory droplets (for example, coughing, sneezing) from the infected individual
Chicken Pox Symptoms
Low grade fever, a mild headache and weakness
Chicken pox usually begins with a low grade fever, a mild headache and a feeling of weakness.
Rash appears on the upper chest or back
Abdominal pain or loss of appetite
Symptoms tend to appear 14 to 16 days after the initial exposure but can occur any time from 10 days up to 21 days after contact with the virus. Chickenpox is characterized by one to two days of mild fever up to 102 degrees F, general weakness, and a rash, often the first sign of the disease
It''s caused by a virus that''s spread from person to person in droplets. Infection starts with a fever and about 2 days later the rash begins, usually on your back, first as red flat areas
Treatment of Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Cut the fingernails or use gloves to prevent skin damage from intense scratching. When lesions occur in the mouth, gargling with salt water may provide comfort. Drink cold fluids, and avoid hot, spicy and acidic foods (orange juice).
Most people develop lifetime immunity to chickenpox after the first occurrence and never experience it again. But the virus can sometimes resurface later in life as shingles (zoster). The current aim in the U.S. and many other countries is to achieve universal (or nearly universal) immunization of children with the chickenpox vaccine.
Complications do develop, your doctor will determine the appropriate treatment. Treatment for skin infections and pneumonia may be with antibiotics. Treatment for encephalitis is usually with antiviral drugs. Hospitalization may be necessary.
Some doctors also give antiviral medicines to people in the same household who subsequently come down with chickenpox. Because of their increased exposure, they would normally experience a more severe case of chickenpox.