Chicken Pox

What is chicken pox 

Chickenpox is caused by infection of your child by a virus known as varicella-zoster virus. Most common in children less than 10 years old and. Symptoms are worse in older children and adults

How does the virus spread

The Virus is very infectious and can spread quickly and easily from someone who is infected through air and if you are in physical contact.

 What are the symptoms of chicken pox

chickenpox presents with characteristic blistery rash which occurs 10 to 21 days afer coming into contact with someone who had the disease. The rash can be very itchy and is seen on the face, middle of the body, or scalp. They can also appear on very sensitive areas of the skin like mouth, genital areas, and on the eyelids. The rash can last for 5-10 days, usually disappears without leaving a scar unless infected by a bacteria. In severe cases this can cause pneumonia and brain damage.

Once you had the natural chicken pox infection it gives lifelong immunity and you are unlikely to get serious form of the disease later in life.

When to seek medical help

If your child is having very high fever, vomiting, very drowsy, refusing to eat and drink, passing less or no urine seek medical help immediately as soon as possible

How to treat chicken pox

Most of the times no specific treatment is needed other than treating the symptoms and maintaining hydration. Painkillers, medicines to reduce itching and swelling may be needed. Antibiotics may be needed in case of suspected bacterial infection . Antiviral drug acyclovir can shorten the duration of symptoms and recommended in in certain people

 

Chickenpox virus can easily spread to others and therefore keep your child at home until all blisters have burst and crusted over.
IS there a vaccine for chicken pox

Yes there is a live attenuated (weakened) vaccine for chicken pox. The virus was obtained from a child with natural varicella but weakened preserving the antigenic properties. Two doses of the vaccine are about 98% effective at preventing chickenpox. Please be aware that your child may still get chicken pox even after vaccination but the disease is usually less severe with fewer skin lesions and mild fever .

How is the chickenpox vaccine given?

The vaccine is given as two separate injections, four to eight weeks apart

What are the side effects

There are no serious side effects. The most common side effects are Pain and swelling at the injection site. Your child may develop fever, or mild chickenpox-like rash. If you are worried please contact your doctor.

Content Source: Content source : Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health service UK, Indian Academy of Paediatrics

Authour: Dr. S. Boopathi MD, DNB, MRCPCH(UK)

 

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