What Exactly Chickenpox is? How Does it Look Like!
The highly infectious viral disease also known medically as varicella.
In many countries, this disease is always called “varicella” that causes a blister-like rash, itching, fatigue, and fever.
The rash crops up first on the face and trunk and can spread over the entire body resulting in 250 to 500 itchy blisters. chickenpox treatment in adults is important to be given before time reaches over the head.
Chickenpox is highly infectious.
The virus spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air by coughing or sneezing.
It takes from 10-21 days after contact with an infected person for someone to develop chickenpox.
People with chickenpox are contagious a day or two before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. chickenpox treatment in adults.
Causes of Chickenpox
Chickenpox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster. People become infected after being in contact with an infected child or adult.
Chickenpox is one of the most infectious diseases. People who have never had chickenpox and have never been vaccinated are at the highest risk of infection.
Symptoms For Chicken Pox
Chickenpox infection appears 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus and usually lasts about five to 10 days.
The rash is the telltale indication of chickenpox.
Other signs and symptoms, which may appear one to two days before the rash, include:
- Loss of appetite
- A headache
- Tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell (malaise)
Once the chickenpox rash appears, it goes through three phases:
- Raised pink or red bumps (papules), which break out over several days
- Small fluid-filled blisters (vesicles), forming from the raised bumps over about one day before breaking and leaking
- Crusts and scabs, which cover the broken blisters and take several more days to heal
New bumps continue to appear for several days.
As a result, you may have all three stages of the rash — bumps, blisters, and scabbed lesions — at the same time on the second day of the rash.
Once infected, you can spread the virus for up to 48 hours before the rash appears, and you remain contagious until all spots crust over.
The disease is generally mild in healthy children.
In severe cases, the rash can spread to cover the entire body, and lesions may form in the throat, eyes and mucous membranes of the urethra, anus, and vagina.
New spots continue to appear for several days.
Prevention From Chicken Pox
The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine. Children, adolescents, and adults should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine.
The chickenpox vaccine is very safe and effective at preventing the disease.
Most people who get the vaccine will not get chickenpox. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually mild—with fewer red spots or blisters and mild or no fever.
The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease.
For more information about chickenpox vaccine, see Vaccination.
For people exposed to chickenpox, call a health care provider if the person
- has never had chickenpox disease and is not vaccinated with the chickenpox vaccine
- is pregnant
- has a weakened immune system caused by disease or medication; for example,
- People with HIV/AIDS or cancer
- Patients who have had transplants, and
- People on chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medications, or long-term use of steroids
Stages of Chickenpox
Bumps and RedSpots
Starting typically on the head and back, the chicken pox first shows as a rash of small red or pink bumps that can quickly spread to the entire body (including eyelids, mouth, and genitals). New areas of rash will continue to appear for four to five days and will overlap other stages of the disease. The rash may be accompanied (or preceded) by a loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fever, irritability, and headache.
Each bump of the chicken pox rash will form a thin-walled blister, which is filled with clear fluid. Called vesicles, the clear fluid will turn cloudy at this stage of the disease progresses. If occurring in the mouth or genitals, the rash may form an open sore rather than a blister. Note that since new areas of rash will continue to appear, all stages will be present at the same time.
Blisters will quickly crust over and form a scab, which typically has a dry brown crust on top. Note that the primary complication of chickenpox is the bacterial infection, and the patient is most susceptible to infection during this stage when there are open sores on the body. If any scab begins to drain yellow pus or is over 10 mm (the size of a dime), seek medical attention.
Although most cases of chickenpox heal without complications, sometimes medical attention is required.
Call the doctor if any of the following conditions develop:
- Fever higher than 103 F
- A crash involving an eye; eye pain (especially unusual sensitivity to light)
- Dehydration, vomiting, or decreased fluid intake
- The uncertainty of diagnosis or what medication to give
- Chickenpox during pregnancy (especially during the last month)
- Secondary skin infections
- Signs of bacterial infection include the following:
- Blisters leaking a thick yellow or green fluid
- The skin around a blister appears red, increasingly painful, or swollen, or has red streaking extending from the site
- Signs of bacterial infection include the following:
If someone with chickenpox begins to breathe with difficulty, shows confusion, disorientation, or appears extremely sleepy and becomes belligerent or difficult to wake up, go immediately to a hospital’s emergency department.
In addition, any seizures or high fever accompanied by a headache and vomiting need prompt emergency evaluation.
Doctor’s Treatment for the Adult with Chickenpox
Your healthcare provider can advise you on treatment options.
Antiviral medications are recommended for people with chickenpox who are more likely to develop serious disease including
- otherwise healthy people older than 12 years of age
- people with chronic skin or lung disease
- people receiving steroid therapy
- pregnant women
Acyclovir, an antiviral medication, is licensed for the treatment of chickenpox.
The medication works best if it is given within the first 24 hours after the rash starts.
For more information, see Acyclovir Treatment.
Other antiviral medications that may also work against chickenpox include valacyclovir and famciclovir.