Updated 5 March 2021
What are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?The most common symptoms of chickenpox infection in children include:
- Development of skin rash - after a child has come into contact with someone infected with chickenpox, the virus goes into an incubation period, which can be between 1 to 2 weeks before symptoms commence.
- Mild Fever, sore throat and other respiratory symptoms,
- Irritability - this feeling is common amongst children. They tend to be uncomfortable, restless, and anxious.
- Uncontrolled itching - the appearance of the skin rash is often followed by uncontrolled itching.
- Blistering - the skin rashes often become blisters which burst and then crust over.
- General Malaise - children tend to be tired, fatigued, and dull in their disposition and appearance when they have chickenpox.
How is Chickenpox Transmitted?Anyone can be affected by chickenpox, and age is not a factor when it comes to contracting the infection. While the infection tends to be mild in children and full recovery is normally swift, the same cannot be said about the infection in adults, especially in adults with a compromised immune system. Chickenpox is also known to effect newborn infants, and this health condition can be life threatening, since babies do not have a fully developed immune system. Pregnant women who have chickenpox for the very first time can transmit the infection to their unborn infant. They can give birth to babies with a severe form of chickenpox which can result in damage to the nervous system, eyes, limbs, and/or skin of the infant. Apart from mother-to-child transmission, the varicella zoster virus can also be transmitted from infected individuals to others when they sneeze or cough. The virus is active in nasal or oral droplets and the unsuspecting victim can be infected when they breathe in the virus. The fluid-filled blisters associated with a chickenpox infection are highly contagious and people can be infected with the virus when they come into direct bodily contact with an infected person's skin blisters. This can be by way of sharing bedding, clothing, utensils, towels, and any other object that can serve as a mode of transmission. This is why a person with chickenpox is likely to quickly spread the infection to other members of their household. Children with chickenpox are often advised to stay at home and avoid going to public places including daycare, and school.
Testing & Diagnosing ChickenpoxA doctor usually diagnoses chickenpox from a physical examination. In the event that tests need to be conducted, the fluid in a skin blister is swabbed, then the sample collected is taken to a laboratory and checked to see if the varicella zoster virus is present.
Treatment of ChickenpoxWithout any form of treatment, a person with a mild chickenpox infection would usually fully recover within two weeks. Home care works wonders in providing relief to individuals with chickenpox. Typically, if you have chickenpox you should:
- Get plenty of rest as well as sleep,
- Bathe with lukewarm warm and add either oatmeal or baking soda to the water,
- Make use of lotions or creams like calamine lotion, which helps to ease itching,
- Anti-viral medication is sometimes given to treat chickenpox
- Take paracetamol to help reduce the fever.