Who is at risk of chickenpox?

What is the meaning of Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a highly infectious viral disease that causes severe febrile illness and a blistered itchy rash, mainly for children. The term chickenpox can also be referred to as varicella.

The name may come from the French word for chickpeas or cliche pois. Another theory suggests that “chicken” was originally the slang word for “child’.

The rash on the skin of Chickenpox

Who are at risk of contracting chickenpox?

The Virus is prevalent worldwide and affects people regardless of race, sex, and age. Most cases happen in infants before ten years old.

After a person has experienced the chickenpox virus, it is implausible to be able to get it again since it provides a lifetime of immunity.

The immune system of immunocompromised patients is vulnerable to infection in all circumstances. It must take precautions to stop or alter how the illness progresses if there has been exposure in the past to the viral infection.

What causes Chickenpox?

The cause of Chickenpox is the primary infection by the varicella-zoster Virus of the Herpesviridae family. This Virus is also known as herpesvirus type 3.

It is highly contagious and easily transmitted between people by breathing in airborne respiratory droplets caused by an infected person’s coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through direct contact with fluid accumulated from an open sore.

Anyone who isn’t protected from the disease is likely to have a 70-80 percent chance of contracting the Virus if exposed to someone in the beginning stages of the disease.

Which are some of the medical signs of Chickenpox?

Chickenpox typically starts as red itchy bumps in children before progressing to cysts in the stomach, back, and face, eventually expanding to other areas within the human body. It is also possible to develop blisters within the mouth.

The pattern of spread can differ from children to kids. It could be an occasional scattering of vesicles, and up to 500 blisters can cover the whole body. The cysts can be extremely sensitive and painful.

A few children might also suffer other symptoms, such as headaches, fever, nausea, cold-like symptoms, and diarrhea.

The severity of Chickenpox tends to be higher in older adults and can be life-threatening in severe instances. Most people who contract Chickenpox suffer prodromal symptoms lasting as long as 48 hours before bursting in an eruption of a rash. They may experience symptoms like fever, fatigue, headache, and abdominal discomfort. It is more common in older adults and may be life-threatening in extreme cases.

The blisters heal within a few weeks but can leave some scars. They’re usually affected by depression ( anetoderma) but could also become thicker ( hypertrophic scars). Scarring can be seen when lesions become infected by the bacteria.

The cute features of Chickenpox
Mucosal lesions on the oral mucosa of Chickenpox

Check out more pictures of varicella …

What is the best way to diagnose Chickenpox?

The diagnosis of Chickenpox is typically based on the appearance of the characteristic rash and the presence of multiple types of lesions simultaneously. The clue to determining the cause is that the patient was subjected to infection through a person during the 10-21-day incubation period. Patients could also be suffering from warning signs and symptoms. Also, the chickenpox disease.

Tests for laboratory analysis are frequently conducted for confirmation of the diagnosis.

  • The PCR can detect varicella viruses inside skin lesions. It is the most precise method of diagnosis.
  • Culturing the blister liquid takes a long time and is rarely performed.
  • Serology ( IgM and IgG) is an excellent option during pregnancy or before giving immunosuppression medications to determine the necessity for immunization before treatment.

What are the symptoms of Chickenpox?

For healthy children, chickenpox infection is generally a non-complicated, self-limiting disease. The complications can be:

  • Secondary bacterial infections of skin lesions that are due to scratching
    • Infection can cause abscess or cellulitis. Necrotizing fasciitis and Gangrene
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration
  • Acute aggravation of asthma
  • Viral pneumonia
  • The lesions of Chickenpox may heal and leave scarring.

Certain complications are typically observed in immunocompromised or adults with Chickenpox.

  • disseminated Primary varicella infections are associated with the risk of high morbidity
  • Central nervous system issues like Reye syndrome, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Reye syndrome, and Encephalitis
  • Thrombocytopenia and purpura

Varicella in pregnancy

  • Women who are not immune-compromised during pregnancy must take extra care to avoid contact with anyone who has Chickenpox. It is also essential to wash hands often when handling animals, food, and children. Exposure to the varicella virus during pregnancy can result in an outbreak of viral pneumonia, early labor, birth, and sometimes even death of the mother.
  • Around 25% of babies born to mothers suffering from Chickenpox get infected. The Virus is non-infectious to the majority of the affected. Children may be asymptomatic or get herpes Zoster in the early years without a primary Chickenpox background. They might also be diagnosed with congenital varicella syndrome, one of the TORCH illnesses.
  • Congenital varicella syndrome can be found at a rate of 2 percent of the fetuses exposed to varicella within the early twenty weeks of pregnancy. It could result in an unplanned abortion, birth chorioretinitis, the development of cataracts in limbs, microcephaly, cerebral cortical atrophy, skin scars, and neurological impairment.
  • Mortality in infants infected with varicella can be as high as 30 percent.

Perinatal varicella

  • If a mother experiences Chickenpox before her delivery or within the first 28 days following the birth, the baby is at risk of developing a severe infection.

Shingles (herpes zoster)

  • The varicella-zoster virus is dormant in the sensory ganglia after the infection.
  • It is possible to reactivate it after several years of shingles. Shingles are characterized by grouped Vesicular lesions that usually only affect one dermatome.
  • Other diseases that can occur due to viral reactivation are post-herpetic neuralgia, vasculopathy myelopathy, retinal necrosis cerebellitis, and the zoster sine herpete.
Chickenpox complications

What is the best treatment for Chickenpox?

Treatment is typically all that is needed for patients who are healthy with chickenpox symptoms.

  • Cut children’s nails to reduce scratching.
  • Warm up in a bath and apply moisturizing cream.
  • Paracetamol can help reduce the pain and fever.
    • Beware of NSAID usage outside of hospital environments due to the higher chance of cutaneous severe complications like the invasive streptococcal group A superinfections.
    • Do not take aspirin when you are children, as it can be associated with Reye syndrome.
  • Calamine lotion and oral antihistamines can help relieve itching.
  • Please look at oral Acyclovir ( antiviral agent) for people over 12 years, as it reduces the days of illness such as fever.

Chickenpox patients who are immunocompromised require an intravenous injection of this drug that fights viruses, medication aciclovir.

In cases of accidental encounter with the Virus, the varicella-zoster immune globulin, if administered within 96 hours of the initial contact, can lessen the degree of the illness. Still, it is not able to eliminate it from occurring. This is typically used when there is no experience of Chickenpox (or the patient is not favorable for antigens for the varicella-zoster Virus in tests of blood) during pregnancy, in the initial 28 days following the delivery, or in immunodeficient or immune-suppressed patients.


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