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What is Chicken Pox?

Chicken pox is an extremely contagious illness that is common in children, especially those under age 12. Caused by the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), also called human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), chicken pox spreads very fast and is most contagious the day before the appearance of the rash. The disease spreads from one person to another through direct contact with the virus. You get the disease if you touch the spit of someone who has chicken pox. It also spreads through air and may get into you if a chicken pox patient coughs or sneezes close to you. Pregnant women or new mothers can also transmit the disease to there yet to be born or newborn babies respectively. 

Symptoms of Chicken Pox:
A primary symptom of chicken pox is the appearance of rashes that usually begins on the body and face and later spreads to the scalp and limbs. The rashes may also reach the mucous membranes, particularly in the mouth and on the genitals. These rashes are more often than not itchy, and initially look like tiny red spots that later grow into blisters within a short time. These blisters then turn into scabs in a couple of days. Fresh blisters may appear after a period of three to six days. Different persons have different number of blisters. Whenever a person is infected with chicken pox, he/she is likely to have fever. In the case of young children, these symptoms are mostly mild. Chickenpox lasts just a week or so in children, but adults need a longer period to recover. They usually also suffer more complications than children.

Causes of Chicken Pox:

Chicken Pox is caused by the Varicella-Zoster Virus, which is a member of the family of Herpes viruses. Chicken pox usually does not cause scarring. But when it does, the scars occur mostly around the eyes and consist of a small depression. Chicken pox lesions are prone to being infected, often from scratching and most frequently with bacteria called Staphylococcus. These secondary infections may cause serious problems that may call for hospitalization. The virus lives in the body fluids and in the lesions of skin and mucosa.

Treatment of Chicken Pox:
Chicken pox in most cases goes away without complications, although medical attention may be required in exceptional cases. A doctor should be consulted if the patient has high fever (more than 103 degrees F), rash in any eye, continued vomiting, dehydration, or unwillingness to intake fluids.  If you are not sure about the diagnosis or don’t know what medication to give, go to a doctor. It is also better to consult a doctor if the blisters emit a thick, yellow or green fluid, or areas around a blister are red, painful, or swollen.

Home Remedies :
In most cases, chicken pox can be treated at home. As its rashes are usually itchy, various treatments can be used at home to help a patient feel better. The patient can be given cool-water baths with baking soda every 3-4 hours to reduce itching. Always trim your fingernails lest you cause infection by scratching the blisters.

Natural and Ayurvedic: 
Avoid giving aspirin to a child because it could cause Reye syndrome. Sometimes a child may develop blisters in the mouth, and finds eating or drinking painful. But one must keep drinking fluids to prevent dehydration. It is wise to avoid spicy, acidic, or hot foods. A patient should stay at home till all blisters have crusted so that he/she doesn’t spread the disease to others.

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