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Chickenpox, also called chickenpox, is a disease caused by the highly contagious Varicella-zoster virus, which manifests itself through red spots on the body, blisters and crusts on the body and intense itching. Chickenpox especially affects children, but it can affect people of all ages, in which case it is more severe.
Symptoms of chickenpox usually appear up to 20 days after contact with someone with the disease, with the appearance of small, round, fluid-filled blisters and itchy skin. Treatment usually consists of relieving symptoms.
Symptoms of chicken pox
Symptoms of chickenpox usually appear up to 20 days after contact with the virus, the main ones being:
- Fever, which can reach 39.5ºC;
- Appearance of red spots and/or small blisters, which may contain liquid, are itchy and spread quickly throughout the body;
- Appearance of sores on the skin, which form due to intense itching;
- Lack of appetite;
- General malaise.
The blisters of chickenpox can present in different stages, being able to identify blisters with liquid, while others are already healing, with crust. It is important for the person to know that while the blisters have liquid, the patient can contaminate others and therefore should not go to school or work.
The symptoms of chickenpox in the baby are the same as those mentioned above, however, coughing and nasal discharge may also appear before the blisters appear. In babies under 1 year of age, symptoms are usually mild, causing only a few skin sores.
In the presence of signs and symptoms possibly indicative of chickenpox, it is important that the general practitioner or pediatrician is consulted so that the symptoms and blisters can be evaluated and the diagnosis confirmed. In addition, the doctor may recommend performing a blood test to confirm the infection.
How the transmission happens
Contagion of chickenpox occurs through contact with droplets of saliva, coughing or sneezing from the infected person and direct contact with wound fluid.
A person can transmit chickenpox to others, about 1 to 2 days before the rash, until all the blisters are crusted over. During this period, you should keep your distance from others and avoid going to public spaces.
A person who has had chickenpox once is protected against the disease and cannot get chickenpox again. However, in some cases, an individual who had chickenpox in childhood can develop herpes zoster, especially in the elderly and if their immune system is compromised, as in people with AIDS or who are undergoing cancer treatments, for example. example.
How is the treatment
Generally, the treatment of chickenpox is done in order to control the symptoms, and it is important that the person avoids contact with other people as much as possible to reduce the risk of transmission. The doctor may recommend the following precautions:
- Take paracetamol to lower fever;
- Take antiallergic or use antiallergic ointment on wounds to relieve itching;
- Apply Povidine or chlorhexidine to the blisters to prevent them from becoming infected and facilitate healing;
- Take 2 or 3 baths a day with cold water and a soap with calamine, to soothe the itching;
- Cut your nails very short, to avoid aggravating skin lesions;
- Wash your hands several times a day to reduce the risk of blister infection;
- Avoid s alty and acidic foods if there are sores inside the mouth.
In addition, some doctors also recommend bathing with potassium permanganate, to keep the skin clean, free of microorganisms and to help heal chickenpox sores. Understand how chickenpox is treated.
Vaccine against chickenpox
The chickenpox vaccine attenuates the virus and prevents the most severe form of the disease. Thus, if the person is vaccinated and catches chickenpox, there may be the development of a milder form of the disease, with even fewer blisters typical of chickenpox, which sometimes is not even diagnosed.
The first dose of the vaccine should be given at 12 months of age and the second at 15 months. This vaccine is part of the basic vaccination schedule of the Brazilian Ministry of He alth and is offered free of charge at Basic He alth Units. Learn more about the chickenpox vaccine.
The most common complication of chickenpox is infection of the blisters, causing pain and redness around the wound and pus forming.You can also suspect that chickenpox blisters are infected when they take a long time to heal or when they look wet when the scab is gone. In this case, the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
In some cases, such as people with compromised immunity, newborn babies and pregnant women, if chickenpox is not properly treated, complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis can occur.