Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine significantly reduces the chances of getting chickenpox. Vaccinated kids who do get chickenpox tend to have milder cases and quicker recoveries compared to those who contract the virus and aren’t immunized.
Symptoms of Chickenpox:
Chickenpox often tarts with a fever, headache, sore throat or stomach ache (these symptoms may last for a few days with a fever in the 38.3℃ – 38.8℃
A red, itchy skin rash usually appears first on the abdomen or back and face, and then spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs, and genitals. A hallmark of chickenpox is that all stages (red bumps, blisters, and scabs) can appear on the body at the same time. The rash may be more extensive or severe in kids who have skin disorders like eczema, or weak immune systems. Young kids tend to have a mild illness with fewer blisters than older children or adults.
In rare cases, serious bacterial infections involving the skin, lungs, bones, joints, and the brain can occur.
Chickenpox is very contagious. It spreads through the air (by coughing and sneezing) and by direct contact with mucus, saliva, or fluid from blisters.
It is contagious from about 2 days before the rash appears until the all the blisters have formed scabs. A child with Chicken Pox must be kept home from school for at least one week.
Since a virus causes chickenpox, doctors won’t prescribe antibiotics to treat it. However, antibiotics may be required if the sores become infected by bacteria. This is pretty common among kids because they often scratch and pick at the blisters.
An antiviral medicine might be prescribed for people with chickenpox who are at risk for complications. The decision to use this will depend on a child’s age and health, the extent of the infection, and the timing of the treatment. Your doctor can tell you if the medication is right for your child.
Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing a skin condition called shingles(herpes zoster) later in life. That’s because after an infection, VZV remains inactive in nerve cells near the spinal cord and reactivates later as shingles, which can cause tingling, itching, or pain in one area of the body, followed by a rash with red bumps and blisters. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence in kids and teens who have healthy immune systems.
It’s also uncommon for someone who’s been vaccinated against chickenpox to develop singles later in life. When it does happen, the case of shingles is usually milder and less likely to cause complications than in a person who wasn’t immunized.
People who haven’t had chickenpox or the vaccine also can catch it from someone with shingles, but they cannot catch shingles itself. That’s because shingles can only develop from a reactivation of VZV in someone who has previously had chickenpox.