Home > General Knowledge, Science > 218/365 – Chicken Pox

218/365 – Chicken Pox

What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox (varicella) is a very common childhood infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is most common in children and is usually mild. When adults get it, however, they can get very sick.

Chickenpox is dangerous for people with immune system problems, such as leukemia, or for people who are taking drugs that weaken the immune system, such as steroids.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

Chickenpox begins with a fever, followed in a day or two by a rash that can be very itchy. The rash starts with red spots that soon turn into fluid-filled blisters. Some people have only a few blisters; others can have as many as 500. These blisters dry up and form scabs in 4 or 5 days.

How is it spread?

Chickenpox spreads easily. It is most contagious on the day before the rash appears.

•It spreads from person to person through direct contact with the virus. You can get chickenpox if you touch a blister or the liquid from a blister. You can also get chickenpox if you touch the saliva of a person who has chickenpox. The virus enters the body by the nose or mouth and can make you sick, too.

•It can also be spread to you through the air if you are near someone with chickenpox who is coughing or sneezing.

•A pregnant woman with chickenpox can pass it on to her baby before birth.

•Mothers with chickenpox can also give it to their newborn babies after birth.

The only way to stop the spread of the virus from person to person is to prevent infected people from sharing the same room or house with healthy people, which isn’t a practical solution. Chickenpox cannot be spread through indirect contact.

Is there a vaccine against chickenpox?

Yes. The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommend that all healthy children 12 months of age and older get the chickenpox vaccine.

How can chickenpox be treated?

If your child gets chickenpox, do not give him aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or any products that contain aspirin. Taking aspirin increases the risk of getting Reye’s syndrome. This severe illness can damage the liver and brain. If you want to control your child’s fever, use acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol, Tempra and Panadol).

Taking good care of the skin and not scratching it may prevent infections that can be caused by bacteria that get into the skin. Your doctor may recommend a medication to help reduce the itch.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722564/

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Categories: General Knowledge, Science
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