Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, one of the herpes viruses. Most children have chickenpox at some stages, commonly before the age of 10. During the infection, the immune system makes proteins called antibodies which fight the virus and then help life-long protection against this bacteria. Therefore, a very small people will have chickenpox twice.
Symptoms of chickenpox
Some of the first symptoms of the infection are a fever, headache, sore throat, or stomachache. Chickenpox causes a red, itchy skin rash that usually appears first on the back and face, and then can spread to anywhere on the body. Some children may feel quite unwell, even loss of appetite when having chickenpox.
The main symptom, which is the rash develops in three different stages. First, the rash begins as small red spots that look like pimples or insect bites and very itchy. After 2-4 days, they develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid, which is easily broken and leave open sores. Later, it will become dry, brown scabs. All stages (red bumps, blisters, and scabs) can develop on the body at the same time. The kids with skin disorder or weak immune systems may have a more extensive and severe rash.
Complications of chickenpox
Most people with chickenpox will make a full recovery. But occasionally serious complications can occur, especially in the elderly, pregnant women, infants and people with weakened immune systems.
There are some possible complications of the infection:
- The most common complication in children is a bacterial skin infection.
- A lung inflammation can cause a persistent cough, breathing difficulties.
- For pregnant women, it can cause pregnancy problems – including the infection spreading to the unborn baby.
- Inflammation of the heart muscle, joints and various parts of the eyes.
Although these complications are rare, but it is important to watch carefully. Take the child to the nearest emergency room if the parents notice any worrying symptoms such as breathing problems, drowsiness or having a headache.
What causes chickenpox?
Chickenpox is the most contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Most cases develop after contacting with an infected person. Infection can also occur from breathing in particles of the virus from the blisters or from the air around an infected person has coughed and sneezed.
Once the person has had chickenpox, he or she will usually be immune and probably won’t catch it again. Therefore, people who have never had chickenpox and have never been vaccinated are at the highest risk of infection.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: April 16, 2017 | Last Modified: April 16, 2017
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