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Chicken Pox

Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is a common viral infection where someone gets very itchy red spots on the body, most reminiscent of blisters. They aren’t usually painful and mostly extremely itchy. Scratching can cause scarring, therefore it can be difficult for people with chicken pox to deal with the itchy spots. It used to be an ordinary disease for most children to get, but there are now chicken pox vaccines to prevent it. Chicken pox is extremely contagious unless the other person has had the chicken pox vaccine.

Causes of Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is caused by a virus called the varicella-zosta virus which is part of the herpes virus family. It is also the same virus that causes shingles in adults. Chicken pox is contagious and be spread easily to others, even with a cough or sneeze. The disease becomes contagious after about 1-2 days and until the blistered parts of the sin have scabbed over. The majority of chicken pox cases are in children under 10 years old. It is usually a mild and common condition without serious complications. However older children and adults with chicken pox can experience a more severe case. If a child’s mother had the chicken pox, he or she is less likely to get it. IT is also uncommon for a child to get it more than once.

Symptoms of Chicken Pox

The main symptom of chicken pox is the red itchy blisters over the skin though other symptoms may occur before the rash. These symptoms include a stomach ache, headache and fever. About 10-21 days after contact with someone with chicken pox, the typical rash of itchy spots begins. The average child will get between 250 and 500 tiny itchy spots over their skin. The blisters usually begin on the scalp, face and middle of the body. They will become cloudy after 1-2 days and scab over. Once they scab, the child is no longer contagious to others. Additional blisters may appear at this point on the vagina, eyelids or in the mouth. Children who suffer from eczema or other skin conditions can get thousands of blisters.

Treating Chicken Pox

Chicken pox goes away on its own, therefore there aren’t many treatment options. The best thing to do is keep your child comfortable by starting with lotion to relieve some of the itching. It is very important your child doesn’t scratch the blisters as this will cause scars. The person with chicken pox should wear loose-fitting clothing that are soft and cool and take luke-warm baths with only a small amount of soap. Taking a bath in oatmeal or cornstarch can also help relieve the itching. Medications include hydrocortisone cream and oral antihistamines such as Benadryl. Children with chicken pox should not have ibuprofen or aspirin.
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