Chicken Pox is an airborne viral infection that spreads easily from infected person to a healthy person.
Chicken Pox Causes
Chicken Pox is a highly contagious viral disease caused by Varicella Zoster virus. Chicken Pox incubation period is two to three weeks.
Chicken Pox generally occurs during childhood and does not create any complications in the children. But it can affect the adults seriously.
Chicken Pox Symptoms
Chicken Pox Disease is characterized by symptoms like fever, common cold, general weakness and rash.
Hundreds of fluid filled blisters will be developed with an itching sensation. These blisters burst and form crusts.
Rashes can be seen on the skin and these rashes are different from those which are formed in measles.
Theses rashes appear as if bunch of blisters are very close together filled with a fluid. Rashes can be observed on nose, mouth, ear, penis, vagina and scrotum.
You can also see a reddened area around each lesion. Old blisters are encrusted and new blisters appear.
Chickenpox in adults is more severe and is characterized by vomiting and head ache in addition to general symptoms.
Chicken Pox cannot be prevented but symptomatic treatment can be given. The treatment is aimed in treating the itching as the rashes tend to be itching.
For this, you have to take care that the child affected with chicken pox should not scratch the rashes. If scratching is done, secondary infection may develop in the child leaving pits and scars on the skin.
Chicken Pox Treatment
Chicken Pox generally goes away on its own within a week or two weeks and not does not require any medication for treating it.
Doctor generally advise on reducing the symptoms of itching and discomfort. He also tells you on how to prevent this airborne viral infection from spreading to other people.
Chicken Pox treatment involves the application of topical lotions like calamine lotion to get relief from itching.
Doctor may prescribe medication like Tylenol (Acetaminophen) to relieve symptoms of high temperature and pain. Make sure to follow instructions given by the drug manufacturer.
After taking medications for few days, the rashes will be cleared, lesions dry up and crusts also falls off.
Note that the drugs containing Aspirin should not be given to chicken pox affected people as it can lead to complications.
If pregnant women are affected with chicken pox, they can take Tylenol at any time of their pregnancy.
Chicken Pox Home Remedies
Avoid Dehydration: The chicken pox affected patients should consume plenty of fluids, mainly water for preventing dehydration.
Few doctor may recommend sugar free popsicles or Pedialyte for children who do not drink enough water.
How to reduce soreness in mouth?
Sugar free popsicles help in relieving the symptoms of soreness in the mouth if they have some spots in their mouth.
These children should avoid consuming salty or spicy foods. If they are unable to chew the food, give them soups which are not very hot.
How to reduce itching in Chicken pox patients?
Itching will be severe and it is very difficult to control the urge of scratching them. But you have to control scratching to prevent the formation of scars on the skin.
For this, trim the finger nails of the children and keep them clean all the time.
You can also ask them to wear mittens or socks on their hands so that they do not scratch them.
Itching can also be relieved by taking oatmeal bath.
For pregnant women and chicken pox in adults, antiviral medication like Acyclovir can be prescribed. It can also be given to adults is they identify the disease in early stages, for newborns and patients with weak immune system.
Antiviral medication works best only if it given within 24 hours of developing symptoms. This drug only reduces the symptoms severity but does not cure the disease completely.
Chicken Pox in Andhra Pradesh
Chicken Pox in Telugu States like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is known as ‘Ammavaru’ and is thought to be caused by a goddess.
The chicken pox affected children are not supposed to move from one place to another without taking head bath after five days as a part of Andhra tradition.
When children are affected with Chicken Pox, these children are made to wear light dressing and loose clothing like cotton clothes. Children are made to sleep on Neem leaves as they have anti-viral property. Some neem leaves are also kept behind them at bed side.
The children will have itching sensation for around five days and after these five days, the children are supposed to take head bath with hot water boiled with neem leaves.
The chicken pox affected children should take light diet which can be digested very easily. The children are given fluid diet and curd rice which cools the body temperature. They can drink butter milk as it cools down the temperature of the body.
Chicken Pox Vaccine | Chicken Pox Prevention
Chicken Pox Vaccine branded as varicella vaccine is available for children. Two doses of varicella vaccine is given to children, one dose at an age of 12-15 months and the second dose is given at the age of 4-6 years.
Varicella Vaccine is almost 90% effective for Chicken Pox prevention.
Chicken Pox in Adults | Chicken Pox Complications
Compared to children adults are more susceptible to complications but are very rare.
Complications arise in adults only if blisters become infected with bacteria.
Chicken Pox in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women, newborns, infants upto 4 weeks of age and people with low immunity are more likely to face complications.
Some people with chicken pox may develop pneumonia. Most of the patients recover completely even though complications are possible in them.
Pregnant women affected with chicken pox may develop pneumonia. There is also possibility of passing the infection to unborn baby.
If pregnant women are infected with chicken pox during first 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is a risk of fetus developing fetal varicella syndrome that can lead to scarring, eye problems, brain drainage and short arms or legs.
If infection occurs at later stage of pregnancy, varicella may be transmitted directly to the baby and the baby will be born with chicken pox.
So if you are exposed to varicella, consult your doctor immediately to prevent these complications.
People with weak immune system are those who are taking cancer medications or undergoing treatment like radio therapy or chemo therapy or facing chronic health conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Chicken Pox complications include meningitis, blood poisoning and pneumonia.