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Signs Of Chicken Pox

One of the contagious diseases which often attack children in their childhood is varicella simplex also known as chickenpox. Often, most children survive this attack successfully.

This condition, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, generally starts with a meek fever and by spots. These spots are typical for the disease and they manifest themselves in 2 or 3 waves. The occurrence of these spots will be more concentrated on the body and head rather than the hands and legs. These open sores generally don’t leave scars.

Generally, chicken-pox has a 2 week incubation period and is highly transmittable by air 2 days before symptoms show. As a result, it spreads in schools and similar places pretty fast.

Another characteristic shown by this disease is that once infected with it, victims develop lifelong immunity against it. So, it’s almost impossible for you to get chicken pox twice unless you are a person with irregular immune systems.

Also, keep in mind that this condition can be fatal and people with a weak immune system and pregnant women usually suffer an increased risk of infection. Death happens due to varicella pneumonia. If you are pregnant and have a weak immune system it is highly recommended that you consult your physician immediately on coming in contact with the virus as the virus infection can be fatal to your baby.

Since 1995, a vaccine against this infection has been available and some countries require children to get vaccinated before they can join their school. Also, effective medications such as acyclovir are available to treat persons who have weak immune system. You can use paracetamol tablets to reduce the fever and calamine lotion to reduce the itch. Don’t use aspirin as it may lead to Reye's syndrome in children.

Keep in mind that this condition is highly contagious and gets spread through the air or direct contact. So the best way to prevent is to keep yourself away when the person coughs or sneezes. Also avoid touching a chicken pox blister or the fluid inside it. Chicken pox is contagious one to two days well before the rash surfaces and it will continue to be contagious until all blisters have subsided and formed scabs. This may take five to ten days. It takes from ten to twenty one days for a person to show the symptoms of the disease once infected.

Normally, the blisters begin as a little red papule which does not have a regular outline and can be in the form of a rose petal. A thin-walled, obvious cyst will be formed on top of it soon. This "bead of moisture on a rose petal" lesion is very particular for chicken pox. This vesicle breaks after about eight to twelve hours leaving a crust. The fluid from this cyst is highly transmittable, but once crusts are formed, the contagious phase will also get passed. This crust falls off after seven days leaving a hollow scar.

It typically takes about seven days to complete the whole cycle explained above. But, the difficult part about chicken pox is that new lesions surface every day for many days. So, typically you have to wait almost for a week so that new lesions stop surfacing and existing lesions get healed.

A very rare incident of a second appearance may also occur in people with low immunity. But these are unusual and rarely severe.

One of the countries which encouraged routine vaccination against chicken pox was Japan. When routine vaccination against this virus is also carried out in the US, occurrence of this condition has shown a dramatic decrease from 4 million cases/year to about 400,000 cases/year as of 2005.

The vaccine is found to be very safe to administer in children. Only 5% of children vaccinated develop a rash or fever. No deaths are reported attributable to this vaccination as of May 2006, even though more than forty million doses of vaccinations were made in this period.

As catching mild chicken pox gives the child lifelong immunity, parents in the past used to encourage pox parties to attain this immunity like in some other diseases like rubella.


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