Chickenpox

Cervarix Cancer
24th November 2017
Children’s Cold & Flu
24th November 2017

Common childhood illness. Caused by a virus and results in a rash of blisters which are very itchy. It can occur in adults as well

Causes

  • Caused by herpes virus- Varicella zoster virus
  • Highly contagious
  • Easily passed between members of families and school classmates through airborne particles, droplets in exhaled air and fluid from the blisters or sores
  • Can be transmitted indirectly by contact with articles of clothing and other items exposed to fresh drainage from open sores

Signs and symptoms

  • Symptoms tend to appear 14 to 16 days after initial exposure but can occur any time from 10 days up to 21 days after contact with the virus
  • First symptoms- mild fever, moderate fever, general unwell feeling
  • The rash of chickenpox develops in crops with raised red spots arriving first, progressing to blisters that burst, creating open sores, before crusting over.
  • Rash first appear on the back and chest then spreads to face, neck, arms and legs. New spots can continue to appear for up to 5 days

Preventing chickenpox

Vaccines are available for immunization of children over 9 months of age and adults.

How contagious is chickenpox

When symptoms first appear until the last blisters have crusted. Children with chicken pox should not go to school until at least 5 days after the rash disappears. Virus stays dormant in the nerve roots of the spine, so generally you cannot catch chickenpox virus again. However, virus can reactivate in later life to cause shingles.

Self care

  • Get as much rest as possible
  • Take plenty of fluids
  • Can relieve the itch by patting or gently smacking the lesions
  • Keeps nails short to reduce the risk of infection
  • Avoid contact with persons who have not had chickenpox or shingles while disease is still contagious

Medicines

May help in relieve itch, fever and discomfort

  • Calamine lotions or cream
  • Antihistamines – to reduce the itch (Ask a pharmacist for further advice)
  • Oral paracetamol for fever
  • Drink plenty of fluids if blisters/ ulcers in the mouth and throat make swallowing painful
  • Antiviral may be given to reduce the systemic infection caused by herpes virus.
  • Antiviral cream/gel can be applied locally on the body as well as on the mouth

Consult a pharmacist at Lovy Pharmacy when choosing a supplement for your condition.