Common Chicken Pox Symptoms and Their Treatments

November 12, 2012

Common Chicken Pox Symptoms and Their Treatments

Most children will have experienced chicken pox symptoms and be infected with chicken pox by the time they reach the age of 10. This is a highly infectious, common disease and produced by the varicella zoster virus and is transmitted by airborne droplets. 90% of chicken pox cases are reported in children below 14 years of age. This disease occurs all over the world, right through the year in places with a moderate climate. The disease normally peaks between March and May.

Chicken pox symptoms usually begin with a rash of small red pimples appearing on the trunk or scalp and spreading to the face and limbs. The red pimples then change into small blisters normally after two to three hours. The small blisters change and scabs are formed within one or two days.

Prior to the above symptoms developing mild flu like symptoms, such as aching body, fever, not wanting to eat, feeling sick, and headaches may be experienced.

Usually chicken pox lasts for 7-10 days and the infection is present from approximately 3 days prior to the rash appearing and the small blisters have changed into scabs.

Inform the school or nursery if your child or children has chicken pox and keep them at home until the last blister has formed a crust. The child should keep away from groups who may be at a higher risk of infection e.g. new born babies.

It appears that children under the age of ten are more susceptible to this disease, and by this age many of them will have experienced chicken pox symptoms and contracted it. Children over 10 and adults who get chicken pox can develop symptoms which are much more severe. Complications which may arise are quite rare in children but the most common one is a bacterial infection and this causes further inflammation of the pimples. Adults and groups where the immune system is compromised may experience infections more frequently. Some of these complications can include inflammation of the liver and pneumonia.

Diagnosing chicken pox is based on the appearance of a rash, a physical examination and the medical history of the patient. There is no specific treatment for this disease. Calamine lotion is an effective treatment for easing the itching when applied to the pimples. Antihistamines purchased from the pharmacy may ease the symptoms of serious itching. Pain relief medication such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can be taken and this helps to reduce any symptoms of fever. As drowsiness can be a side effect of some of these medications it can help the patient to have a restful sleep. It is very important to avoid scratching the scabs thereby reducing the risk of a secondary bacterial infection, therefore wear gloves to bed and this may alleviate the occurrence of scratching when sleeping. Do not take any medicines where aspirin is an ingredient.

Another treatment to relieve chicken pox symptoms is to have regular baths with baking soda or fine oatmeal in the water as this provides relief from the scratching and itching. Avoid sponging the scabs with tepid water.

People who are considered to have a higher chance of developing complications due to chicken pox and perhaps have more chicken pox symptoms may be prescribed antiviral drugs. These drugs reduce the time line of the infection, therefore reducing the risk of any further complications which may arise.

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