Chicken Pox

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus or “VZV”. Chickenpox a very common illness especially among children and can usually be prevented by getting a vaccine early between 1 to 2 years of age. It is also recommended that children ages 4 to 6 get a booster shot for further protection. Symptoms include a rash of itchy spots that spread to almost everywhere on the body such as the face, abdomen, and genitals. This is also accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Because the virus is contagious, it is recommend that the infected individual stay home until the symptoms go away.

Usually chickenpox only occurs once in a person’s lifetime, but VZV can be dormant in the body and appear later in life causing shingles. Getting a chickenpox vaccine severely lowers the chances of developing shingles later in life. People with shingles spread chicken pox to an individual, but there is no risk of catching shingles. Shingles occur from the reoccurrence of “VZV”.  Because chickenpox is caused by a virus antibiotics will not be prescribed unless the sores become infected with bacteria. Usually scratching and picking at blisters will cause this. To provide relief from the discomfort of chickenpox, there are many remedies out there to try.

Calamine lotion is good to put on the very itchy areas on the body, but keep away from the face. Oatmeal bath products can be bought at supermarkets and pharmaceuticals stores. Chickenpox can make eating food uncomfortable, so avoid hot and acidic food, but rather eat cold, soft and bland food for comfort. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about creams to apply to sores in the genital area.  Most chickenpox infections require no special medical treatment, but if problems such as a high fever that last for excessive days or rises about 102° F , has trouble walking, or breathing call your doctor.

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