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Chickenpox

Also called: Varicella

Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Most cases are in children under age 15, but older children and adults can get it. It spreads very easily from one person to another.

The classic symptom of chickenpox is an uncomfortable, itchy rash. The rash turns into fluid-filled blisters and eventually into scabs. It usually shows up on the face, chest, and back and then spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite

Chickenpox is usually mild and lasts 5 to 10 days. Calamine lotions and oatmeal baths can help with itching. Acetaminophen can treat the fever. Do not use aspirin for chickenpox; that combination can cause Reye syndrome.

Chickenpox can sometimes cause serious problems. Adults, babies, teenagers, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems tend to get sicker from it. They may need to take antiviral medicines.

Once you catch chickenpox, the virus usually stays in your body. You probably will not get chickenpox again, but the virus can cause shingles in adults. A chickenpox vaccine can help prevent most cases of chickenpox, or make it less severe if you do get it.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Chickenpox

The following features are indicative of Chickenpox:
  • itchy rash
  • fever
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite

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Common Causes of Chickenpox

The following are the most common causes of Chickenpox:
  • varicella zoster virus infection

Risk Factors for Chickenpox

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Chickenpox:
  • HIV/AIDS
  • cancer
  • patients who have had transplants
  • individuals on chemotherapy
  • pregnant women

Prevention of Chickenpox

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Chickenpox. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get chicken pox vaccination

Occurrence of Chickenpox

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Chickenpox cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Chickenpox most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 10-20 years

Common Gender

Chickenpox can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Chickenpox

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Chickenpox:
  • Chickenpox and Shingles Tests: To diagnose the active cases of chickenpox and shingles

Doctor for Diagnosis of Chickenpox

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Chickenpox:
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Chickenpox if untreated

Yes, Chickenpox causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Chickenpox is left untreated:
  • bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children
  • pneumonia
  • infection or inflammation of the brain
  • bleeding problems
  • blood stream infections
  • dehydration

Self-care for Chickenpox

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Chickenpox:
  • Don't scratch: Prevents scarring and improves the healing process
  • Maintain good hygiene: Daily cleaning of skin with warm water helps in preventing secondary bacterial infection

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Chickenpox

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Chickenpox:
  • Apply calamine lotion: Provides relief from itching

Time for Treatment of Chickenpox

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Chickenpox to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Is Chickenpox Infectious?

Yes, Chickenpox is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • spread from one person to another by contact

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 9/07/2019.
This page provides information for Chickenpox.
Childhood Immunization
Shingles

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