chicken pox

Tara Woodrum

The cause of chicken pox

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpesvirus family. The same virus also causes herpes zoster (shingles) in adults.

Transmission of the disease

The virus spreads easily from people with chickenpox to others who have never had the disease or received the chickenpox vaccine. The virus spreads in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters.

How fast does it spread

It takes from 10 to 21 days after exposure to a person with chickenpox or shingles for someone to develop chickenpox.

How virulent is the disease

Symptoms of the disease

-rash

-fever

-loss of appetite

-headache

-tiredness and general feeling of being unwell

How is the disease positively diagnosed?

Your health care provider can usually diagnose chicken pox by looking at the rash and asking questions about the person's medical history. Small blisters on the scalp usually confirms the diagnosis.

treatment of the disease

Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching. Keeping fingernails trimmed short may help prevent skin infections caused by scratching blisters. Use non-aspirin medications, such as acetaminophen, to relieve fever from chickenpox.

how successful is the treatment

To work well, the medicine usually must be started within the first 24 hours of the rash

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