Chickenpox | Varicella
Chickenpox | Varicella is a very contagious infection caused by the varicella zoaster virus. It is mainly a disease of kids but adults can also get infected by this virus. Over the course of several days the blisters pop and start to leak. After that they crust and scab over before finally healing.
Chickenpox is generally mild , especially in children and mostly recover in 2 weeks. But in severe cases the blisters can spread to your nose ,mouth ,eyes and even genitals.
The itchy blister rash caused by chickenpox infection appears 10-21 days after exposure to the virus and usually lasts in 5-10 days. Other symptoms which appears 1-2 days before the rash , Includes –
• Loss of appetite
•Tiredness and malaise
1-2 days after you experience above fever like symptoms ,the classic rashes will begin to develop.
The rashes goes through three phases-
• Red or pink bumps (Papules) develop all over the body.
• The bumps become blisters filled with fluid that leaks.
• The bumps become crusty, scab over which cover the broken blisters and begin to heal.
New bumps continue to appear for several days, so you may have all 3 stages of the rashes – bumps , blisters and scabbed lesions – at the same time. One can spread the virus to the other people for upto 48 hours before the rash appears and the virus remains contagious untill all broken blisters have crusted over .
Causes & mode of spreading –
Chickenpox | Varicella infection is caused by varicella zoaster virus.
You can get chickenpox virus infection by breathing in particles that come from chickenpox blisters through coughing or sneezing of the patient or by touching something on which the particles landed.
It is most contagious from 1-2days before the rash appears untill all the blisters are dried and crusted
Risk Factors –
Children under age 2 yrs are most at risk for chickenpox. 90% of all cases occurs in young children ,but older kids and adults can also get it. The following are the conditions which increases risk of chickenpox –
• If you haven’t been vaccinated for it.
• If you work in a school or child care facility.
• If you haven’t had the virus before.
• If you are living with children.
Doctors generally diagnose chickenpox based on the rash symptoms. Still to get more confirmation some laboratory tests like blood tests or a culture of lesion samples can be done.
1) Firstly to soothe itchy skin –
• Don’t scratch your skin.
• Take luke warm baths.
• Apply unscented lotion like calamine lotion.
• Wear light weight soft clothing.
2) For high fever, use acetaminophen. It can also help in relieving pain associated with sores on skin.
* Avoid anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to children under age 16 years. It can lead to a serious complication called Reye’s syndrome.
3) Use antihistaminics like benadryl to ease itching symptoms.
4) Drink lots of fluids to help your body get rid of virus faster and also to keep your body hydrated.
• Bacterial infections of skin, soft tissues,bone ,joints or bloodstream.
• Toxic shock syndrome
• Inflammation of the brain( Encephalitis)
• Reye’s syndrome
The best way to prevent the spread of virus is to get varicella vaccine. Children who have never had chickenpox should get two doses of the vaccine – the first at 12-15 months of age and the second between the age of 4-6 yrs. People over age 13 who have never been vaccinated should get two doses of the vaccine atleast at an interval of 28 days.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda Chickenpox | Varicella is termed as laghu masurika. It is caused due to vitiation of tridoshas.
Beneficial Herbs –
• Neem – It is highly antibacterial and astringent in nature, also it can pacify itching and eruptions.
• Honey – It can be applied over the blisters in the mouth.
• Aloe vera – It has anti inflammatory properties ,which relieves your skin from Itching, irritation and redness.
• Giloy – It helps in pacify tridosha and increase immunity to fight against chickenpox virus.
Effective Medications –
• Sudarshan churna
• Prawal panchamrit
• Kamdugdha ras
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