Chicken Pox Symptoms and Herpes Viruses

November 12, 2012

Chicken Pox Symptoms and Herpes Viruses

As you are probably aware chicken pox is a very contagious viral infection that generally infects children before they reach ten years of age. The virus is called Varicella zoster and is a member of the herpes class of virus and chicken pox symptoms are easily spotted. Most of the time, the disease comes in a mild form and nothing to worry about. This virus is easy passed by having physical contact with the lesions or through the air from a cough or sneeze. Chicken pox can affect older children and adults but when it does it is usually more serious.

Chicken pox symptoms start with a redness followed by itching and eventually form fluid filled vesicles that eventually generate crusty patches. The rash may start on the trunk of the body and then spread to the extremities and face. This process takes about 1 to 2 weeks. Just before the rash sets in, the child may feel like they are coming down with a flu and feel feverish with body aches, upset stomach with a loss of appetite. Be aware that chicken pox is contagious before the rash is apparent and continues until the lesion form crusts. Treating chick pox symptoms is pretty straight forward simply because there is no real specific treatment needed. If pain and fever is present, pain killers such as ibuprofen can be administered. Some parents like to use calamine lotion to help relieve the itching. If the itching becomes acute, an antihistamine can be used. Warm baths with Epsom salts, oatmeal or baking soda work wonders for itching as well. This can be done repeatedly through the day. Make sure not to scratch the lesions as that can cause a second infection usually allowing bacteria to enter. It’s difficult to keep children from scratching so you may want to put mittens or socks over their hands particularly at night when they are sleeping.

Do not give a child who has chicken pox aspirin. This can lead to Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome is a serious condition that effects every organ in the body. It is not well understood at this time however, it is known that Reye’s syndrome can be contracted when taking salicylic acid (aspirin) during a viral infection. Individuals who are known to be at high risk from complications of chicken pox may be administered some form of antiviral drugs. Basically what this does to to shorten the time of infection and decrease the probability of complications that might arise.

A child with chicken pox symptoms should not attend school until crusts have formed over the lesions. In fact, you may want to keep your child home longer to be on the safe side. Make sure your child stays away from people who would be particularly susceptible to chicken pox such as newborns, yours or anyone elses. If you have an infant in the house, make sure to keep the infected child completely away from the infant. Keep a child with chicken pox away from anyone who has a compromised immune system this includes anyone taking immune suppressors including anyone with cancer.

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