13 Interesting Facts About Chicken pox
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Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease also known as varicella. It is caused by infection from varicella zoster virus. Chicken pox results in small itchy blisters and bumps over the skin. It begins from chest, face and back and then spreads to various parts of the body. It has other symptoms like fever, headache and lethargy. These symptoms begin 10-21 days after exposure to virus and last 5-7 days and it has some occasional complications like pneumonia, inflammation of brain and bacterial skin infections. It has more severe impacts in adults than in kids.
Some facts about chicken pox:
Chicken pox is an air borne disease and it spreads through cough, sneeze and touch of an infected person. It gets contagious from 1-2 days before rashes appear and until all the skin blisters have cured. Any contact with skin rash can lead to spread of the disease. Some facts about chicken pox include:
1- Chicken pox is a very contagious disease caused by a virus:
Chicken pox spreads easily from person to person. It is caused by Varicella zoster virus. People who are not vaccinated and are exposed to this virus are in 70-80% chance of getting the infection.
2- Complications from chicken pox can be serious:
Most children recover fully from chicken pox. While some adults and children may have serious complications. These complications include bacterial infection, brain swelling and pneumonia. Complications may be severe when a person is immunocompromised.
3- Chicken pox creates rashes:
Main symptoms are the rashes which appear all over the skin. Most of these itchy blisters tend to be on face, torso and scalp. There would be fever along with these blisters and there can be from few to many skin rashes like poxes.
4- The incubation period of chicken pox is up to 3 weeks:
Chicken pox develops after 2-3 weeks post exposure to virus. And the person becomes contagious even 1-2 days before these skin blisters develop and continues such until the blisters disappear.
5- Chicken pox mostly gives lifelong immunity:
Most people who get chicken pox will not get it again. Some get it in childhood while other get chicken pox when they are adults.
6- Chicken pox is dangerous for pregnant women:
Pregnant women who catch chicken pox transmit the virus to their babies. In second and third trimester birth defect called congenital varicella syndrome. This can also lead to miscarriage. This infection close to delivery puts the baby at risk of developing newborn chicken pox which is often life threatening.
7- Chicken pox virus is responsible for shingles:
Once you get chicken pox, this virus stays dormant in our body and never goes away. And it can cause shingles many years later. Shingles are painful rashes which affect one side of the body
8- Varicella vaccine is available to prevent chicken pox:
CDC recommends giving 2 doses of chicken pox vaccine after one year of age. Older children and adults can also receive this vaccine and anyone who has never had chicken pox needs two doses of this vaccine
9- Aspirin can be dangerous when you have chicken pox:
If aspirin and chicken pox mix it causes rayes syndrome which is fatal. This affects brain and liver.
10- Chicken pox can be treated:
Antivirals can help in treating and preventing complications from chicken pox. Those children and adults who are not vaccinated are given anti-viral medicines for chicken pox treatment.
11- Chicken pox is not very common anymore:
Earlier chicken pox used to be very common but now with prevention and immunizations it is reduced by 80-90% than it was before 1995.
12- Chicken pox symptoms can be usually managed at home:
Generally the pediatricians do not invite kids suffering from chicken pox as it is highly contagious. All the symptoms are apparent and can be seen at home only.
13- A blood test can be done to test the immunity of persons who are uncertain of their history and who have not had chicken pox. Many of these people find themselves immune so they do not need the vaccine.
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Myths about chicken pox:
There are several myths about chicken pox which are not necessarily true in all infected cases. There are more details to all of these myths:
1- Once you have had chicken pox your are immune for life:
After you or child has had chicken pox the body develops antibodies and immunoglobulins. These antibodies fight the chicken pox virus later in life. But not everyone infected develops these antibodies. A blood test is needed to check the body immunity.
2- Scratching at chicken pox blisters causes scarring:
Usually all the blisters go away and don’t causes scarring. But for cases where severe itch and scratching was done some scars may develop also infections may lead to scarring. Topical products can be used to treat these scars and prevent infections
3- After you have chicken pox you will never get shingles:
Shingles is caused by same varicella zoster virus and this virus stays dormant in our body after having caused chicken pox in us. Around 20% of people who have had chicken pox in some point in their life develop shingles.
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4- Only adults get shingles:
Anyone can get shingles specially children under 12 months are more susceptible to these shingles. Mostly shingles are seen in people over 50
5- All children must be exposed to chicken pox as soon as possible:
Chicken pox is dangerous for kids with poor immune system specially kids under 1 month. And kids under 12 months old who get chicken pox infection are particularly prone to shingles.
6- There is no protection against chicken pox:
There is complete protection when vaccination is given to everyone. Also anti-viral medicines can help in treating blisters and prevent the complications too.
7- Fever along with chicken pox can be soothes with cold sponging:
Fever in chicken pox must not be treated with cool sponging as it causes constriction of blood vessels just below the skin. This may trap the heat inside out body thus worsening the fever. There must be gentle flow of wind under normal room temperature to treat chicken pox.
The above compilation on 13 Interesting Facts About Chicken pox is to share some facts and myths about this dangerous viral disease.
Check with your pediatrician as the complications with this disease can be fatal too
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