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Chicken Pox

A common childhood disease, chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Adults too can be afflicted by this self-limiting disease. Usually, a person is affected by chicken pox just once in a lifetime. However the virus can lie dormant in the body and surface later as shingles. It is essential to consult the doctor if the rash spreads to the eye or it is accompanied by disorientation and dizziness. Rare complications of chicken pox include viral pneumonia or encephalitis. There is a risk of a birth defect if a pregnant woman contracts chicken pox in the first trimester.

Chicken pox surfaces as red and itchy rashes on the skin. These blisters appear on the face, arms, abdomen, mouth, ears and scalp. Over time the rashes get filled with clear fluid. They break open in a few days to crust over and become dark and dry scabs. A person suffering from chicken pox also tends to suffer symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat and abdominal pain. The symptoms are milder and the blisters are fewer when chicken pox affects children. Chicken pox is very contagious, especially in the first few days when the rash appears.

An episode of chicken pox lasts for a couple of weeks. Patients suffering from chicken pox usually do not require any medication. But they can be given cool baths to relieve itching. Calamine lotion when applied to the itchy areas can give relief. Children suffering from chicken pox must be given mild food that is easy on the digestion. The chicken pox vaccine is now given to prevent episode of chicken pox. This varicella vaccine is now part of the regular immunization schedule for children.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 19, 2021