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Chicken Pox

Chicken Pox Virus

Chicken Pox Virus

Chicken Pox Virus

The chicken pox virus (varicella-zoster) is highly associated with small children and inspired a wealth of different natural and home treatments, as well as many different types of modern medicines. It isn’t seen as a huge threat in the United States; it is almost seen as a childhood rite of passage in many ways. However, it it is very important to know where this virus comes from and how it can be prevented and treated.

The virus is extremely contagious and is spread primarily through person-to-person contact.  This includes coughing, sneezing, and/or sharing drinks with someone who has contracted the virus. The virus can also be spread if someone hasn’t even started seeing symptoms yet.  It usually takes 14 to 16 days to get the symptoms of this condition after a person has been around someone with the virus. This is called the incubation period. Chicken pox also gets progressively worse as people age, especially in adults and pregnant women, and a virus like chicken pox shingles may also occur.  Chicken pox symptoms include a sore throat, headaches, fever, and is most recognized by small, itchy rash-like spots that occur all over the body. After a chicken pox red spot appears, it usually takes about one or two days for the spot to go through its life stages. This includes blistering, bursting, drying, and crusting. New red spots will appear every day for up to 5 to 7 days. This is usually the worst of the chicken pox symptoms; people are advised to stay home from all public places at least until all of the spots have crusted over. Usually those who have had the chicken pox don’t get it again, but like chicken pox shingles have many of the same symptoms. People may think they have chicken pox again but they really have shingles. Those people should see a doctor immediately for treatment, as shingles is usually seen in adults and is significantly more life-threatening.

Treatments for the chicken pox have also come a long way. Traditional treatments include washing the entire body in oatmeal soap as well as covering the chicken pox spots with calamine lotion.  This is done to alleviate the itching; be careful to not scratch them, they will be further irritated or infected. Both oatmeal soap and calamine lotion can be found at major drugstores, to treat the fever and headaches, one can use over the counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever, and a cough suppressant or oral anesthetic to stop the coughing and sore throat. There is also a chicken pox vaccine that has recently been approved and administered by doctors all over the country. Many have complained that all it does is give children and adults the condition early on to keep from getting it again, but on the other hand many have noted that it does work well and they have not had chicken pox, although they were exposed to the virus.

The chicken pox virus can still be lethal; the chicken pox vaccine is available for children and adults, and a condition that should be taken seriously.

 

September 2014
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