By Dr. Pooja Rakshit, General Physician
Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection characterized by painful and itchy red sores all over the body.
Chickenpox is caused by the virus ‘Varicella- zoster’ the virus spreads if you come in close proximity with an infected person. It spreads mainly through cough, saliva or through contact with the sores.
Children, pregnant women, new-born baby and the mother, people with weak immune system and adults who are not vaccinated against chickenpox have high chances of contracting the infection. Certain side effects and other complications include pneumonia, skin infections, dehydration and encephalitis (inflammation caused to the brain). Chances of contacting chicken pox reduce if you already have suffered from it once previously. Generally considered a mild disease, after diagnosis, the patient tends to improve within one or two weeks.
The symptoms of chickenpox appear within 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus:
- The appearance of sores throughout the body including the anus, the eyes and the mucous membranes.
- High fever, severe headache and loss of appetite.
- The sores are of 3 types: red bumpy sores, bumpy sores containing leaky fluid and sores which take time to heal. These 3 types of sores can occur simultaneously or in an irregular progression throughout the duration of the infection.
For people who suffer from further complications arising from chicken pox, a prescribed dosage of anti-viral drugs might be recommended. In general, the application of lotion and taking hot-water baths might allow you to heal faster.