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Chicken Pox (Varicella)

How is chicken pox caused and transmitted

Chicken pox is a disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. Unless they have had chicken pox before, anyone can contract the disease, i.e. children, adolescents and adults.

The disease is highly contagious, spreading through the air or by direct contact. The virus attacks the mucous tissues. Consequently, the disease is easily transmitted through droplets of mucous secretions from the respiratory tract while coughing or sneezing. It can also be transmitted to a person who has been in direct contact with a dirty handkerchief or the varicella lesions.

In most people, the incubation period ranges from 13 to 17 days. A person is most contagious for two days after the appearance of the rash and continues to be for about five days. Usually, it is safe for children to go back to school by the sixth day.

What are the symptoms of chicken pox

The typical sign of chicken pox is an irritating, itchy rash that starts on the trunk and slowly spreads over the face, including the scalp, mouth and ears, and also the upper arms and legs. Scabs form over the lesions after four or five days and may stay for one or two weeks after which they drop off. In addition, children may also develop fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.

How can this illness be treated

There is no specific treatment for this disease. However, it is imperative that you stop your child from scratching the spots. If she scratches the spots, the scabs may come off leaving the wounds open to infection and scarring. Apply calamine lotion at regular intervals to alleviate the itching and keep your child's nails short to minimize the risk of infection.


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