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Chicken Pox (Herpes Varicella Zoster) Treatment

Get The Complete Facts About Chicken Pox

Chickenpox is an infection caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus. Children are the leading carriers of chickenpox. Toddlers under two years old are most susceptible to the illness, while nearly nine of ten chickenpox cases occur in young children. Adults can contract the infection, as well. Usually, symptoms in adult cases are the most severe. Among the signs of chickenpox are red rashes and blisters that cover much of the body. After several days, the blisters begin to pop and ooze fluid. Next, the blisters crust and scab over before healing completely. Start-to-finish, the span of chickenpox symptoms from 10 to 21 days, but most people recover after two weeks.

The herpes varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox is highly contagious. The most infectious period of the condition lasts from two days before the appearance of the rash until the time when the blisters crust over.

Early symptoms include body aches, fever, fatigue, headaches, irritability, and a loss of appetite. Next, the rash develops in three phases.

  • First, around 250 to 500 red or pink bumps called “papules” appear all over the skin.
  • Second, the bumps become fluid-containing blisters that pop and leak in a day’s time.
  • Third, the open wounds turn to scabs and begin to heal.

Until all the scabs have crusted over, the virus is still contagious. Picking at the scabs extends the period of contagiousness and can cause scars.

After a person contracts chickenpox, the virus remains present in the nerve cells. Years later, the virus can reawaken from its dormancy in the form of shingles, a painful rash that most often affects the elderly. Shingles vaccines are available to prevent the illness. Other treatments include topical creams and lotions to minimize skin irritation.

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