Archive | Chickenpox

Coping with Chickenpox

It’s the summertime and most children spend all afternoon playing outside with their friends. But if in the last few days your kid begins to feel weak with colds and a slight fever you might want to check for the presence of rashes in the skin that can tell you that your child had just contracted chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by varicella zoster. It can cause reddish spots that form like blisters throughout the body. The spots can range from the size of a mongo bean to as big as a dime and it is often very itchy. Most kids get chickenpox in the hot season as they play outside with other kids who may have had recent chickenpox.

Chickenpox also known as varicella is a common childhood disease and almost all children will have it before their adolescent years. Chickenpox is contagious just like any other viral disease. It can spread through sneezing, coughing, sharing toys and food with someone who has the disease. Most children who have chickenpox do not realize that they have it because the appearance of the rashes does not come until 2 to 3 days of the active infection. Children are highly contagious 2 to 3 days before the blisters appear and after the blistered have fully healed and crusted off.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and body weakness
  • Appearance of rash 2 to 3 days after other symptoms are felt

Chickenpox is diagnosed by a doctor upon seeing the symptoms on a child. Medications are usually not necessary as the immune system will fight off the virus over time. Treatment will just focus on isolating the child to prevent disease transfer to other individuals in the household. Interventions to prevent the child from scratching will also need to be implemented to avoid infection. Here are some tips and advices you can do when your child has chickenpox.

  • Keep children cool because sweating makes the blisters more itchy
  • Cut your child’s fingernails to avoid scratching and skin tearing that can lead to re-infection
  • Oatmeal baths can help sooth itchy skin
  • Calamine lotion can also alleviate itching
  • Do not use aspirin for fever as most children develop Reye’s syndrome, a very serious condition.

In the old days many people die of chickenpox. It’s good thing that now there is a vaccine available given at the age of 1. It may not assure you of not getting infected with the disease in later life but the symptoms and complications will be much milder compared to those who have not received the vaccination.

Posted in Chickenpox, Diet and Nutrition, Growing Pains, Infections0 Comments

All About Vaccines: What Adverse Reactions Are Possible?

Children are normally required to be provided various vaccines in accordance to their age.  However, not too many people are familiar with the problems that are linked with adverse reactions to vaccines.  Although these reactions are rare, they definitely require you to be familiar with them.  These reactions are generally caused by hypersensitivity to chickens, eggs, gelatin, antibiotics, and mercury.
 
Allergies from Antibiotics
 
 Polio vaccines, MMR or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines, and varicella vaccines contain neomycin which could cause minor skin rashes.  If your child, however, has allergy with this type of antibiotic, it is advised that you do not subject your child to this type of vaccine. On the other hand, children that are allergic to penicillin antibiotic are safe to take this vaccine as no vaccine contains this type of antibiotic.
Allergies from Eggs and/or Chickens
 
 The vaccine commonly called as the “flu shot” or the influenza vaccine has egg proteins.  People, in general, who have an allergic reaction to eggs or chicken, should never take this kind of vaccine.
For people who travels especially in tropical countries like Africa, chances are you may be prone to Yellow fever.  However, yellow fever vaccines also do contain egg protein.  What can be done to resolve this is to take two skin tests using the vaccine.  If both skin tests did not show any reaction, you or your child may proceed with taking the vaccine.  If any of the two tests presented a reaction, this means that a desensitization process has started.
The MMR vaccines are safe to be taken by children with egg or chicken allergies.  Children with dramatic egg allergies are also improbable to have any adverse reaction to this type of vaccine.
 
Allergies from Gelatin
 
  There are a number of live vaccines that use gelatin as their stabilizing agent.  Children who have severe allergic reaction to gelatin are advised to take skin tests first before taking these vaccines.  Gelatins either come from boiled hogs or cows.  Most gelatins come from boiled cows.  Vaccines that contain gelatin usually come from boiled hogs.  You will need to determine first what type of gelatin your child is allergic to. Vaccines that have gelatin in their ingredients are MMR, yellow fever vaccines, and varicella.
Allergies from Mercury
 
Mercury also referred to as thimerosal in vaccines, is a component found in some vaccines.  This is usually used in killing contaminants in the body.  Although severe allergic reactions to this ingredient are rare, children who are allergic to mercury should still be cautious.  Vaccines that use this as an ingredient are usually those that are found in a multi-dose tablets.
Vaccines that are typically included in the routine schedule are free from mercury or thimerosal or contain only a small amount.  There are also a number of inactivated influenza vaccines available.  However, these types of influenza vaccines have limited supply.  The PHS or the Public Health Service and the AAP or the American Academy of Pediatrics has already taken steps to eliminate the use of mercury as an ingredient to vaccines.  Preservatives were also required, especially those for multi-dose vials to avoid any forms of microbial contamination that happens when the vial is unwrapped.  All manufacturers of these types of vaccines were persuaded to look for other options of preventing contamination.

Posted in Allergies, Chickenpox, Child Safety, Infections, Measles, Mumps0 Comments

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is one of the most common childhood illnesses that have been around for quite some time now. It is not uncommon for toddlers, school-age children, teenagers and even adults to develop this disease. Chicken pox is a viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus or VZV. This infection is very contagious and gets easily transmitted from an infected child to a non-infected one. Children who received the varicella or chicken pox vaccine and those who already have the antibodies are at a lower risk of developing the infection. In most cases, a child only gets to have a single episode of chicken pox infection for his entire life. He may develop shingles or herpes zoster when he becomes an adult, depending on the type of disease that he has. It is very important for parents to have sufficient information about chicken pox. The best way to get all the facts about the disease is to ask your child’s pediatrician. They’re the perfect source for everything and anything about chicken pox, the dos and don’ts, the signs and symptoms, treatment options and medications, prevention and management. Listed below are some of the questions you might want to ask your doctor regarding chicken pox.

1)      What are the signs and symptoms of chicken pox? Ask what type of rash is expected to appear on the child’s skin. Ask for the skin rash characteristics you’ll be observing for, also ask for the how the rash spreads out include the start point and the end point. Learn how to identify if the rash indicates chicken pox or other diseases such as measles and eczema. Usually chicken pox rashes are tiny, fluid-filled blisters that become cloudy as the disease progresses. These rashes can eventually break and cause open sores which dries out and becomes crusts. Aside from skin rashes, ask for the other disease symptoms. Check if the child will develop fever, cough or colds while having chicken pox.

2)     Ask how contagious or communicable chicken pox is. This infection is contagious even as early as two days before the skin rashes start to appear. It stops being contagious once all the blisters have dried out and crusted. For children who already go to school, ask the doctor how long the child should stay home and away from other children. Usually the doctor would recommend 1 to 2 weeks of rest to make sure the child heals and recovers properly. Chicken pox is transmitted in various ways; children can get the disease through air droplets and blister fluids.

3)     H0w is chicken pox prevented? Ask about VZV or varicella vaccines, when it should be taken and the amount of dose needed. Also ask about booster shots for children who already received the vaccine. In most cases, the VZV vaccine provides lifelong protection.

4)     Can chicken pox be treated? Ask if the child needs to take antibiotics or anti-virals. Check if there are any medications that can treat the sores and blisters. Learn about the dug, acyclovir. This anti-viral medication usually makes chicken pox less severe and limits skin rash and blister formation.

 

Posted in Chickenpox, Infections0 Comments

Chickenpox Vaccine

If your child hasn’t received the Chickenpox (or Varicella) vaccine, it is something that you should seriously consider.  While many of us think that chickenpox is a harmless skin irritation, it can have serious and sometimes fatal complications.  3 in 4 American parents were unaware that death is a complication of chickenpox; 100 people die every year from chickenpox in the U.S.  

 The chickenpox vaccine was licensed by the FDA in 1995 and is now widely available.  As with other vaccines, there can be complications.  However, they are usually less severe and less frequent than the problems that may arise with the actual disease itself.  Most people who take the vaccine have no side effects.  It is much safer to be immunized than it is to contract chickenpox.

Chickenpox is more than a skin irritation.   A common childhood disease, it is usually mild but can be very serious in infants and adults.  The chickenpox virus can be transmitted through the air, or by coming in contact with fluids from a chickenpox blister.  Infection is characterized by an itching rash of blisters, fatigue and fever.  Even years after contracting chickenpox, some people experience a painful rash called shingles. Rare, but serious complications of chickenpox include: severe skin infection and scarring; brain damage; pneumonia; and even death.

 If your child has already had the chickenpox, they are immune to the virus and don’t need to be vaccinated.  All other children should be vaccinated (some states require that your child be immunized before they can enter school).  Teens/adults over the age of 13 who have not had chickenpox should be vaccinated twice, four to eight weeks apart.

Mild rash, fever and swelling at the injection site are all common side effects of the chickenpox vaccine, and should disappear within a few days.  Seizures and pneumonia are extremely rare side effects.  Monitor your child and report any unusual symptoms within 48 hours of their vaccination, such as dizziness, wheezing, weakness, hives, high fever or rapid heartbeat.

As with any vaccination, discuss the risks and benefits with your child’s Pediatrician, and keep accurate records of all immunizations.

Posted in Chickenpox0 Comments

Chickenpox Prevention

Chickenpox is a highly contagious and very common disease that is often described as one of the “classic” children’s diseases, because so many people suffer from it during their childhood. Chickenpox can be spread by direct contact and also by airborne transmission. Rare but serious complications can result from the disease, requiring immediate medical treatment attention. The most common symptoms of chickenpox are headache, fever, stomach ache, and a loss of appetite, followed by an itchy rash of blisters, which usually lasts for 2 to 4 days.

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), which is a member of the herpes family and is known to cause herpes zoster (shingles) in adults.

The best defence against chicken pox is immunisation. However, there are misguided and misinformed people who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children. To protect these foolish people, and visitors to your area from other countries who may not been vaccinated, chickenpox sufferers should remain isolated in their houses until 4 days have after the symptoms have passed.

Because the chickenpox virus is airborne and highly contagious, it is a particularly difficult disease to avoid. For these reasons, it is a very common childhood disease.

For instance, it is possible to catch chickenpox from someone walking along the next aisle at a supermarket, even when these people aren’t yet aware that they have the disease.

The varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is an important part of the routine immunization schedule for children. This vaccine is virtually 100% effective against moderate or severe cases of the disease, and about 85-90% effective against mild forms of the disease.

The chickenpox vaccine is one of the few vaccines that does not require a booster. Once you have been immunized, most people are safe from chickenpox for life.

However, a secondary dose of the vaccine may be given later in life to help avoid herpes zoster (shingles). Re-immunization with the higher dose is currently being considered by many vaccination experts.

Non-immune persons who have been exposed to chickenpox may receive varicella vaccine within 3 days (72 hours) of the exposure to prevent or diminish the severity of illness.

Adolescents 13 years of age or older and adults who have not received the vaccine and have not already had chickenpox including:
 Healthcare workers.
 College students.
 People in contact with immuno-compromised persons.
 Residents and staff in institutional settings.
 Inmates and staff of correctional institutions.
 International travellers.
 Military personnel.
 Non-pregnant women of childbearing age.
 Teachers and day care workers.
 People who work with or near crowds of people, such as at markets, malls, train stations, buses, and so on.

Varicella vaccine is also very safe. The most common side effects are mild and may include pain and redness at the injection site. A mild rash may develop. As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems could occur after getting a vaccine. However, the potential risks associated with varicella disease are much greater than the potential risks associated with the varicella vaccine.

Posted in Chickenpox0 Comments

Chickenpox Diagnosis and Treatment

Chickenpox is a highly contagious and very common disease that is often described as one of the “classic” children’s diseases, because so many people suffer from it during their childhood. Chickenpox can be spread by direct contact and also by airborne transmission. Rare but serious complications can result from the disease, requiring immediate medical treatment attention. The best way to avoid chickenpox is be immunized against the disease. The most common symptoms of chickenpox are headache, fever, stomach ache, and a loss of appetite, followed by an itchy rash of blisters, which usually lasts for 2 to 4 days.

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), which is a member of the herpes family and is known to cause herpes zoster (shingles) in adults.

Chickenpox is usually diagnosed by looking at the tell tale blisters and rash that chickenpox causes from and the sufferer’s medical history. Blisters on the scalp are a strong indication of chickenpox.

The diagnosis can be verified by blood tests and various tests of the pox blisters themselves.

Like all viral diseases, chickenpox cannot be treated with antibiotics. A chickenpox infection (in the vast majority of cases) can simply be left to run its course.

For the majority of people, it is sufficient the chickenpox sufferer comfortable while their own immune systems fight the disease. Oatmeal baths, calamine lotion, oral antihistamines, and lotions containing antihistamines can help to reduce the itching.

If someone is scratching their chickenpox blisters, then trim their fingernails to reduce the chance of turning the blisters into sores, which can become infected and result in scars.

The best defence against chicken pox is immunisation. However, there are misguided and misinformed people who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children. To protect these foolish people, and visitors to your area from other countries who may not been vaccinated, chickenpox sufferers should remain isolated in their houses until 4 days have after the symptoms have passed.

Various antiviral medicines can be effective against chickenpox, provided they are used within 24 hours of the chickenpox rash appearing. For most healthy children, these medicines are not needed. However, adults and teenagers usually develop more severe symptoms, and they may benefit from these medicines.

In addition, for people with skin conditions (such as eczema or recent sunburn), lung conditions (such as asthma), or those who have recently taken steroids, or those who need to take aspirin on an regular basis, the antiviral medicines may be an effective treatment.

Some doctors also prescribe the antiviral medicines to people who share the same house as the chickenpox sufferer and have not had chickenpox themselves. This is to avoid them developing chickenpox with more severe symptoms as a result of their increased exposure to the disease.

If you suspect that you or your child has chickenpox, then contact your doctor as soon as possible to avoid the risk of developing complications or spreading the disease to others.

WARNING DO NOT USE ASPIRIN. Unless instructed by your child’s doctor, don’t give aspirin to a child who has a viral illness since the use of aspirin in such cases has been associated with the development of Reye Syndrome – a serious and potentially deadly encephalitis-like illness. Instead, acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be used safely.

Posted in Chickenpox1 Comment

Chickenpox Transmission

Chickenpox is a highly contagious and very common disease that is often described as one of the “classic” children’s diseases, because so many people suffer from it during their childhood. Rare but serious complications can result from the disease, requiring immediate medical treatment attention. The best way to avoid chickenpox is be immunized against the disease. The most common symptoms of chickenpox are headache, fever, stomach ache, and a loss of appetite, followed by an itchy rash of blisters, which usually lasts for 2 to 4 days.

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), which is a member of the herpes family and is known to cause herpes zoster (shingles) in adults.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease, and the chickenpox virus can be spread by a variety of methods including direct contact, droplet transmission, and airborne transmission.

Some children who have been vaccinated may develop a mild case of chickenpox as a result of the vaccination. However, these children usually have much milder symptoms, only develop a few dozen chickenpox blisters, and recover far more quickly that unvaccinated chickenpox sufferers. These mild, post-vaccination cases of chickenpox are still highly contagious.

If a person is infected with chickenpox, the symptoms and blisters usually appear between 10 and 21 days later. However, people become contagious 1 to 2 days before the rash and blisters appear, and remain contagious while any un-crusted blisters remain.

Once you have suffered chickenpox, the virus usually remains in your body for your entire lifetime, but it is kept under control by your immune system. About 10% of adults may experience shingles (which is caused by chickenpox virus) when the virus manages to fight back and become active during periods of stress, particularly later in life.

Children under 10 years of age are the most common sufferers of chickenpox. For these children, the disease is usually mild, although some serious complications can develop in very rare cases. Adults and older children usually develop chickenpox with more severe symptoms.

Children under one year of age, whose mothers have had chickenpox or have been vaccinated for chickenpox, are unlikely to catch the disease because the of the immunity they obtained from their mothers. If they do catch the disease, then it is usually a very mild case. However, children under one year of age, whose mothers have not had chickenpox and have not been vaccinated for chickenpox, or whose inborn immunity has already waned, can develop severe cases of the disease.

Children suffering from other skin problems, such as eczema or recent sunburn, may get more than 1,500 chickenpox blisters, but in children without these skin conditions, usually only 250-500 blisters develop.

Serious and severe complications are more likely in those who immune systems have already been compromised and weakened by disease, medicines, or treatments such as chemotherapy. Some of the most severe cases of chickenpox have witnessed in children who have taken steroids (for example, to treat asthma) before they have developed any symptoms during the incubation period of the disease.

Posted in Chickenpox0 Comments

Chickenpox Symptoms and Complications

Chickenpox is a highly contagious and very common disease that is often described as one of the “classic” children’s diseases, because so many people suffer from it during their childhood. Chickenpox can be spread by direct contact and also by airborne transmission. Rare but serious complications can result from the disease, requiring immediate medical treatment attention. The best way to avoid chickenpox is be immunized against the disease.

The most common initial symptoms of chickenpox are headache, fever, stomach ache, and a loss of appetite, followed by an itchy rash of blisters, which usually lasts for 2 to 4 days.

This rash usually consists of hundreds of small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters starting on the face and spreading to cover the torso and scalp, and eventually the arms and legs. Blisters on the scalp are a strong indication that the rash is caused by chickenpox.

Usually after a day or two, and the blisters develop a cloudy appearance, and then become sores with a scab. At the same time, new waves of blisters continue to appear and develop.

Chickenpox blisters often appear in the mouth, in the vagina, and even on the eyelids.

Children suffering from other skin problems, such as eczema or recent sunburn, may get more than 1,500 chickenpox blisters, but in children without these skin conditions, usually only 250-500 blisters develop.

In most cases, chickenpox will not leave any scars on the skin unless they become infected with bacteria as a result of itching.

Although most people recover from chickenpox without suffering any serious symptoms or complications, a small percentage of people suffer from serious complications.

Chickenpox can cause various serious complications, including:
 Infection of the fetus by mothers infected with chickenpox.
 Severe infection of the newborn baby if they are exposed to the disease and their mothers are not immune.
 Secondary infection of the blisters and scarring of the skin can occur if the sufferer scratches the blisters.
 Encephalitis, Reye’s syndrome, pneumonia, myocarditis, cerebellar ataxia, and transient arthritis are other possible (but very rare) complications of chickenpox.

Each year in the United States, between 4,000 and 9,000 persons are hospitalised as a result of chickenpox, and up to 100 of people die as a direct result of the disease or the complications it caused.

Those at highest risk of complications are newborn babies, people with weakened immune systems, and adults. Although adults make up fewer than 5% of chickenpox cases in the United States, they account for half of the deaths from the disease.

Posted in Chickenpox0 Comments

Related