Just like the other viruses such as measles (rubeola), German measles (rubella), fifth disease (parvovirus B19), mumps virus, and roseola (human herpesvirus 6), another virus infection called varicella, commonly known as chickenpox, is a virus that often affects children.
Common symptoms of chickenpox is having an itchy rash spots all over the body. But, before these rashes appears, your child will experience other symptoms first. It often starts with a fever up to 101-102℉ or 38.3-38.8℃, headache, sore throat, or stomach ache. After having all these symptoms, the rash begins todevelop.Chickenpox causes an itchy skin rash that usually appears on the abdomen or face and back,and then spreads everywhere in the body including scalp, mouth, arms, legs and genitals
The rash will go through three different phases before recovering from the virus:
- Your child will develop rashes that appears as small red bumps that looks like pimples or insect bites that appears in crops over 2 to 4 days
- The rashes will develop into thin-walled blisters that is filled with fluid that leak
- The blister wall breaks, leaving open sores which will finally become dry, brown scabs.
Patients who are infected with varicella virus or chickenpox is highly contagious up to five days (most often, one to two days) before and five days after the rash appears. When all the open sores have cruste dover, be comedry, and scabbed over, the yareno longer considered contagious
Varicella-zoster virus causes the chickenpox infection in which occurs through having contact with an infected person. It is spread out through the air by coughing and sneezing, and by direct contact with mucus, saliva (spit), or fluid from the blisters. It’s very contagious that’s why if your child has chickenpox, they should be kept out of school until the blisters have dried off. Most kids with sibling who’s been infected could also get it if they haven’t already had the disease or vaccine.
Viral illness like chickenpox can be prevented through having immunization. The chickenpox vaccine requires only two shots and is very safe and effective which goes together with the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine. The first vaccination is given when they are 12 to 15 months old and the second a booster, is given when they are 4 to 6 years old. Keeping your child out of school can also prevent the virus from spreading.
Antihistamine medications or ointments may help to relieve the severe itching cause by chickenpox. There are also ways to control severe itching of the skin which includes:
- Taking lukewarm baths
- Applying unscented lotions or moisturizers such as calamine lotion or any other similar over-the-counter preparation that can be applied to the rash
- Wearing soft clothing
A non-aspirin analgesic like acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used to decrease the fever and aches. But, always remember to discuss all these treatment options with your doctor before taking any action.
Beaware, get protected and be sure to watch for any symptoms that your child might be having. Choosing and knowing the right medicine and treatment for your child always helps to ease possible risks. Do not worry so much because it’s actually a common virus -- considered to be a childhood rite passage and it is very rare to have it more than once.