Chickenpox is a contagious infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, that produces red rashes that blister the skin. Most people get the virus when they’re young especially when they haven’t had the chickenpox vaccine. 

Although chickenpox is very contagious, once you’ve had chickenpox, you can’t catch it again. Adults most likely become sicker when infected by chickenpox, so it’s better to have chickenpox as a child or prevent it altogether by getting vaccinated. 

Symptoms 

The first sign of symptoms is a very itchy skin with red blisters. After several days the blisters pop and start to leak, crust and scab over before it finally heals. Usually, symptoms appear 10-21 days after you’ve been exposed to someone who has the virus. And gets better after about 2 weeks. 

Chickenpox usually happens in the following order: 

  • Fever 
  • Feeling tired 
  • Headache 
  • A skin rash that is very itchy and small blisters 
  • Bumps filled with liquid that looks like milky water 
  • Scabs after the blister pops 
  • Blotchy skin 
  • Spots or chickenpox scars that starts to fade away 

Prevention 

Chickenpox vaccine is one of the best ways, if not the best, to prevent chickenpox. The vaccine provides protection of about 98% of the people who had the vaccine in recommended doses. When the vaccine doesn’t provide complete protection, it considerably lessens the severity of infection.  

The chickenpox vaccine is recommended for 

  • Young children 
  • Unvaccinated older children 
  • Unvaccinated adults who’ve never had chickenpox 

Some people are at higher risk of chickenpox complication including: 

  • Newborn and infants whose mother never had the vaccine or the chickenpox 
  • Pregnant women who never had chickenpox 
  • People who smoke 
  • People who have weak immune system due to medications, such as chemotherapy 
  • People who are taking steroid medication 

Complications 

Chickenpox is generally a simple and mild disease, but it can be serious and can lead complications like: 

  • Dehydration
  •  Pneumonia 
  • Bacterial infection of the skin, soft tissues, joints, or bloodstream 
  • Inflammation of the brain 
  • Toxic shock syndrome 

Treatment 

If you or your child has chickenpox, make sure you get plenty of rest and fluid. Encourage them not to scratch and put antihistamines on the rash. Also, when taking a bath don’t rub the towel when drying off. You can pat dry to prevent infecting the skin more.  

In healthy children, chickenpox is allowed to run its course. There really is no need for medical treatment aside from medications to relieve itching. Rest as much as possible and avoid contact with others. 

If you are unsure of it is chickenpox or other skin disease, please consult a medical professional for a more accurate diagnosis.