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Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious viral infection that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).
This disease is characterized by a rash of itchy, fluid-filled blisters that appear on the skin, and it primarily affects children.
However, adults who have not been vaccinated or who have not had chickenpox before can also get infected.
In this article, we will discuss the causes and treatment options for chickenpox.
Causes of Chickenpox
The VZV virus is the primary cause of chickenpox. It is highly contagious and can be easily spread through contact with an infected person.
The virus can be transmitted through airborne droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs, or through contact with fluid from the blisters.
The virus can also be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
Chickenpox symptoms typically appear 10-21 days after exposure to the virus. The initial symptoms of chickenpox may include fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
After a few days, a red, itchy rash appears on the skin, which develops into small, fluid-filled blisters. The blisters can appear anywhere on the body and can be accompanied by itching, swelling, and redness.
Treatment of Chickenpox
The treatment for chickenpox is primarily aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing complications. In most cases, the virus will run its course and the symptoms will disappear on their own within 1-2 weeks.
However, there are several treatment options available that can help alleviate symptoms and speed up the healing process.
Antiviral medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir can help reduce the severity and duration of chickenpox. These medications are most effective when taken within the first 24 hours of symptom onset.
Antiviral medications are typically prescribed for people who are at high risk for complications, such as adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) can help alleviate fever and pain associated with chickenpox. These medications can also help reduce inflammation and swelling caused by the rash.
Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can help alleviate itching associated with chickenpox. These medications work by blocking the histamine receptors in the body, which reduces the itching sensation.
Calamine lotion can be applied topically to the skin to alleviate itching and reduce inflammation. This medication works by cooling and soothing the skin, which can help reduce the urge to scratch.
Oatmeal baths can be used to soothe the skin and reduce itching associated with chickenpox. This treatment involves adding oatmeal to a warm bath and soaking in it for 15-20 minutes.
Prevention of Chickenpox
The best way you can prevent chickenpox is through vaccination. The chickenpox vaccine has been the safest and most effective way to protect against the virus.
The vaccine is typically given to children between the ages of 12-15 months, and a second dose is given between the ages of 4-6 years. Adults who have not had chickenpox before should also consider getting vaccinated.
Other preventive measures include avoiding contact with infected individuals, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. If you are infected with chickenpox, it is important to stay home and avoid contact with others until the blisters
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