Chickenpox (Varicella): A Dilemma after Covid-19

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What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a contagious illness that produces a low-grade fever and a rash of itchy, inflammatory pimples that develops into blisters and finally come off as loose scabs. The virus that causes it, the varicella-zoster virus, primarily affects youngsters.

A viral infection called chickenpox results in a rash that resembles blisters. The rash starts out on the face and trunk before moving up the body. It is particularly contagious among those who have not received a vaccination. Although it produces no life-threatening condition, complications can occasionally result from chickenpox.

Incubation period

Within 10 to 21 days of coming into contact with a virus carrier, symptoms start to manifest. Most people heal in around two weeks.

Mortality rate

Varicella had a fatality rate of about 1 per 100,000 cases in children under the age of 14, 6 per 100,000 cases in people between the ages of 15 and 19, and 21 per 100,000 cases in adults. The majority of fatalities affect immune-compromised children and adults

Epidemiology

Globally, varicella is present. It is largely a childhood disease in nations with temperate temperatures, with the majority of children becoming infected by the age of 10. Children in tropical regions contract varicella at a later age while young adults are more susceptible. Therefore, there are more cases of adults than children. Uncertainty surrounds the cause(s) of this discrepancy in age distribution.

Epidemiology

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Nature of vector

 Human -pathogen VZV is solely responsible for both varicella (chickenpox) and zoster (shingles). There is no known source or vector i.e. an animal or an insect.

Transportation of virus

Direct contact with vesicular fluid or inhalation of aerosols from vesicular fluid of acute varicella or zoster skin lesions are the two ways that VZV is passed from person to person. Varicella patients’ contaminated respiratory tract secretions, which are capable of being aerosolized, may also transmit the disease. Transmissible VZV is thought to mostly be transmitted through skin lesions. Varicella, not zoster, would result from VZV transmission in a VZV unaware individual.

Who is the most prone

The most vulnerable age group to chickenpox is children under two. In actuality, 90% of all cases involve toddlers. But it can also strike older children and adults. Chickenpox is more likely to affect you, if:

  • You never before had the virus
  • You are not covered by a vaccine for it
  • You are working in a school or daycare provider
  • You are living with kids

Symptoms (stage-wise)

The primary sign of chickenpox is an itchy, splotchy rash. It can occur anywhere on the body.

There are three stages of chickenpox. However, new lesions might develop while others are developing blisters or scabs.

Stage 1: Tiny blemishes appear

Blemishes
Blemishes

The blotches may:

  • be anywhere on the body, including the mouth and the area around the genitalia. It may spread widely or remain in a small area.
  • depending on your skin tone, be red, pink, darker, or the same shade of skin as the surrounding skin.
  • be more difficult to notice on dark skin

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Stage 2: Blisters develop from the spots

Blisters
Blisters Appearance

Blisters form when the areas swell and fill with fluid. The blisters are extremely irritating and could rupture.

Stage 3:  The blisters scab over

Blisters scabing over
Blisters Scabing over

The blotches create a scab. While some scabs ooze fluid, others are flaky.

Additional signs

You might also experience: either before or after the rash starts, fever, aches, pains, a general feeling of being unwell, and a lack of appetite.

Complications

Adults are more likely than children to experience complications from chickenpox. A person’s immune system may be compromised by cancer, HIV, or another illness, putting them at danger as well.The varicella-zoster virus remains in your nerve cells for years after you’ve had chickenpox. Years later, it may “wake up” and start acting again. It might result in shingles, a painful blistering disorder. Thankfully, there is a shingles vaccine. It is advised by doctors for persons over 60.

Treatment

In youngsters who are generally healthy, chickenpox usually doesn’t require medical attention. An antihistamine may be recommended by your doctor to treat the itching. However, the illness is typically permitted to progress naturally. Following are the symptomatic treatment.

Painkillers: 

 (Acetaminophen) may aid a person with chickenpox that has a high fever and pain.

Dehydration

It can be a complication of chickenpox; therefore it’s crucial to consume plenty of fluids, ideally water, to avoid it.

Reduce itching: 

Scratching must be avoided if you want to avoid scarring, even when itching might get quite bad. Topical creams and chilly baths are a couple of things that can help.

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Prevention

Although there is no treatment for chickenpox, there is a vaccination for VZV. Currently, the majority of people are avoiding the illness because of the chickenpox vaccination, which is about 90% Trusted Source Effective. People should keep their distance from those who are known to have chickenpox, refrain from sharing items with them, keep sick family members segregated from others, and clean any surfaces they may have touched.


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