Chicken Pox - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a viral infection characterized by itchy rashes all over the body.


What causes chickenpox?


Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus (VZV).


How does the virus spread?


The virus can spread in the following ways:


Close contact with the infected person:


Being in close company with the infected person can spread the infection as it is very contagious. 


Sharing articles with the infected person:


Sharing articles with an infected person can result in the spread of the infection as the virus can survive on fomites. Sharing of personal objects like razors, towels, gloves, beddings, clothes, etc can spread the infection from one person to another.



Chickenpox is highly contagious 1 to 2 days before the emergence of rashes till all the rashes have dried up.


Risk factors of getting chickenpox:


The following factors predispose a person to a high risk of catching chickenpox infection:


Never getting the vaccination:


Vaccination provides a key role in providing lifelong immunity against chickenpox. Those adults and children who have never got vaccinated against the varicella-zoster virus are at a greater risk of getting chickenpox.


Recent exposure to an infected person:


People who have had recent exposure to a person who was infected with the varicella-zoster virus are at a high risk of getting chickenpox themselves.


Young age:


Children are mostly affected by chickenpox, especially between the ages of 1 to 10 years.


Pregnant women:


Pregnant women who haven’t received chickenpox vaccination are at a high risk of getting chickenpox. Moreover, pregnant women are at a greater risk for getting chickenpox-related complications.



Lowered immunity:


Any condition that causes the immune system to be suppressed causes different bacteria and viruses to infect an individual as the immune system is responsible for fighting off different infections. Conditions like AIDS, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes, etc. can predispose a person to catch infections like chickenpox. Low immunity can also cause chicken pox to become complicated.




Symptoms of chickenpox:


The signs and symptoms of chickenpox are:


Rash:


Rashes are the most characteristic sign of chickenpox infection. The rash is red in appearance and itchy and may involve the chest, back, and face in the beginning and then spread all over the body. The rash becomes a fluid-filled blister and then finally dries up in almost a week.


Other symptoms:

Other symptoms, non-specific to chickenpox are:


  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite


Diagnosis:


The diagnosis is mostly made by looking at the rashes. The doctor identifies the rashes due to their characteristic appearance. Moreover, your doctor may order lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.


Complications of chickenpox:


The following complications may arise after a chickenpox infection. People who are at extremes of age (infants and old people), pregnant women, and people with a suppressed immunity are at a high risk of getting chickenpox related complications:


Superinfection:


Other organisms, mostly bacteria, can infect a person who has chickenpox. This infection may spread to other tissues, bones, or the whole body (sepsis), thereby complicating chickenpox.


Shingles:


Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a condition caused by the same virus, varicella-zoster virus, that causes chickenpox. It occurs long after when a chickenpox infection is gone, but the virus persists in your nervous system. After a long time, it reactivates as shingles, in which painful blisters form on a part of your body.


Birth Defects:


Pregnant women who get infected with chickenpox are at a high risk of giving birth to babies with low birth weight and limb defects. 



Treatment of chickenpox:


The treatment of chickenpox is usually aimed at providing symptomatic relief such as taking a cool bath or applying soothing lotions etc. Your healthcare provider may prescribe you antiviral medications to help clear up the virus.


Prevention of chickenpox:


Fortunately, there is a vaccine available for chickenpox. It is the best way to prevent chickenpox and shingles and is very effective. After the introduction of the vaccine, the number of cases lowered.



Conclusion


Chickenpox is a viral infection that clears up on its own. A vaccine is the best prevention for it and is highly advisable. If you see the above-mentioned symptoms in you or your child, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider.



Doctors For Chicken Pox

Dr. Zaheer Ul Islam

General Physician

40 Years

Akram Medical Complex

General Physician

38 Years

Prof. Dr. Rashid Mahmood

General Physician

35 Years

Dr. Hasnain Sheikh

General Physician

20 Years

Dr. Kahkashan

General Physician

15 Years

Dr. Nadia Syed

General Physician

15 Years

Dr. Sohaib Haider

General Physician

9 Years

Dr. Nida Shoaib

General Physician

9 Years

Dr. Shahbaz Ashraf

General Physician

8 Years

Doctors for Chicken Pox in Different Cities