What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It can be transferred from one person to another via droplets or through the air. This means that it’s extremely easy to catch the virus because all it takes is exposure to droplets which are usually released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Infected individuals are advised to stay indoors to avoid exposing people to the virus they are carrying and to prevent its spread.
Signs and Symptoms
The indicative sign of chickenpox is the appearance of rashes which may be visible 10 to 21 days from exposure to the virus. Chickenpox rash starts as pinkish or reddish bumps which will spread in several days. These bumps will transform to fluid-filled blisters which will break after a day. Once the fluid leaks, the broken blisters will dry up and be covered by crusts and scabs. This will take several more days to fully heal.
The infected person may also experience fever, loss of appetite, headache, and body malaise a day or two before the rash. New bumps may continue to appear for several days.
Upon infection, the virus may be transmitted from one person to another within 48 hours before the appearance of bumps, and the infected person remains contagious only until the rashes become dry.
It is important to know these warning signs and contact your doctor once they are observed:
- Rashes extending to the eyes
- Rashes that are warm and painful which may be a sign of bacterial infection
- Rashes accompanied by difficulty of breathing, worsening cough, dizziness, vomiting, quivering, poor muscle coordination, stiff neck, or fever higher than 38.8889°C
- The affected person is living with 6 months old or younger infant or someone with a suppressed immune system
Complications and population at risk
Usually, chickenpox does not progress to a more serious condition. However, in some instances especially with people with higher risk of getting infected, chickenpox may have serious complications. These are dehydration, sepsis, pneumonia, encephalitis, and toxic shock syndrome.
Classifications of people at high risk of getting the infection are the following:
- Adults who have never had chickenpox
- Adults who were never vaccinated
- Infants of mothers who have never had chickenpox
- Infants of mothers who were not vaccinated
- People who have suppressed immune system because of medication or other diseases
- Pregnant women who have not had chickenpox before
- People taking steroid-based medications to alleviate diseases such as asthma
Since chickenpox is an airborne disease, getting infected in highly likely in densely populated areas. The best way to lower the risk of acquiring chicken pox is by getting vaccinated.
Vaccination aids in making the body immune to the infection through exposure to weakened or killed microbes that cause the disease.
Vaccines can save lives so protect yourself and your children as early as possible. For proper consultation and information on vaccines, you may visit Greg Keily Chemist.
Greg Keily Chemist has qualified pharmacists who can assess patients and administer vaccines for various diseases. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Learn more about vaccination and how you can keep yourself healthy.