Chickenpox is a condition that develops due to an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The condition is highly contagious, and the only way to protect yourself from catching it is through vaccinations. Every child should be vaccinated against chickenpox.
Chickenpox is characterized by an itchy rash that may cover the entire body. It is spread through droplets of bodily liquid or direct skin contact with a person who is infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccinations to prevent chickenpox and its complications from developing. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the varicella-zoster virus.
Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox
Signs and symptoms include itchy rashes and fluid-filled blisters. The blisters typically appear about 10 days after exposure to the virus. Some people infected with the chickenpox virus report feeling tired, feverish, and having a loss of appetite days before the skin symptoms start to show.
The chickenpox rash has three stages:
- First stage: Raised red or pink bumps called papules appear
- Second stage: Fluid-filled blisters called vesicles form
- Third stage: The blisters develop crusts or scabs
Chickenpox typically lasts between 5 to 10 days, during which all three stages of the rash may appear. Someone infected with the virus becomes highly contagious two days before symptoms on the skin appear up until the time the blisters have scabbed.
Chickenpox is considered a mild condition. However, its complications can prove to be dangerous. For instance, when a blister pops, an opening is created in the skin which can leave you vulnerable to infection. Some signs of infection include feeling dizzy and disoriented, a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, tremors, and a high fever.
What to Do If You Have Chickenpox
If you or your child are exhibiting symptoms of chickenpox, make an appointment with your doctor. After a careful examination of your symptoms, your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and rule out other diseases.
Treatment for chickenpox may include medication to manage the severity of the symptoms and treatment for complications – especially when the rash has spread to mucous membranes, such as the eyes. Other complications include infection, pneumonia, and shock.
If you develop chickenpox and someone in your household has not had the chickenpox or been vaccinated and has a compromised immune system — particularly babies or the elderly – they should seek medical attention, as well.
Chickenpox Diagnosis and Treatment in Massachusetts
If you or your child have developed chickenpox, the experts at Children’s Health Care can help.
Schedule an appointment today by calling our Newburyport office at (978) 465-7121 or our Haverhill office at (978) 373-6557. We look forward to treating you and your family for all your skincare needs.