Chicken pox’s most distinguishable feature is its rash, usually appearing on your face, scalp and trunk. The initial sign you’ve been infected with this virus are spots, which quickly turn into small liquid blisters. These blisters in turn break open, crust over and form a scab.
New chickenpox spots will continuously appear for a few days, accompanied by mild to intense itching. A chicken pox sufferer remains contagious until all of their blisters have formed a scab.
A couple of days before the rash of chicken pox, you may experience a mild cough and runny nose. Other symptoms beyond the annoyingly itchy rash may include:
It usually lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 days.
Uncomplicated cases of chickenpox normally doesn’t require medical treatment. Some at home treatment suggestions to help alleviate your symptoms are:
- antihistamine for itching
- get plenty of rest to help fight infection
- soft, bland foods for chickenpox mouth sores
- dab spots with calamine lotion to help relieve itching
- never scratch ~ use gloves and trim fingernails to lessen damage
- cool baths help relieve itching, added relief sprinkle bath with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal
- acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever ~Never give aspirin to anyone with chickenpox because the combination has the potential to cause Reye Syndrome.
Should you find your itching intolerable, see your doctor to get a stronger prescription antihistamine for relief.
Chicken pox can be spread to those without immunity from direct contact with the shingles’ rash. And shingles contagious period is only during the blister phase.
Most cases of chickenpox occur in under age 15 children, but anyone without immunity can come down with it. Serious complications can occur, and those at a higher risk to have a more severe form of this disease are:
The most common complication of chickenpox is a bacterial skin infection. It can also lead to pneumonia, bleeding problems or encephalitis. Contact your health care provider immediately if you, or anyone with chickenpox experience:
- stiff neck
- severe cough
- rapid heartbeat
- fever above 102ºF
- difficulty walking
- vomits repeatedly
- difficulty breathing
- difficult to wake up
- seems extremely ill
- rash spreads to eyes
- weak immune system
- fever lasts more than 4 days
- any rash areas leaking thick discolored pus
- any part of the body becomes very red, warm, tender
Your chances of experiencing a bout with chicken pox is greatly lessened with vaccination. Chickenpox vaccine can prevent or make it less severe.
About a fifth of those receiving a single dose of chickenpox vaccine still get chickenpox when exposed. Vaccination generally results in a less sever rash and fewer spots. Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine is your best method for prevention.
Pregnancy without immunity requires special care, talk to your doctor about the risks and preventive measures to protect the health of your unborn child.
Remember that only after all of your blisters have dried up into scabs, you’re not considered contagious anymore.