What is Chickenpox? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Definition of Chickenpox: A viral infection marked by an itchy, blister-like rash. Before scientists developed a vaccine, about 4 million people contracted chickenpox and 100 died from the infection each year, according to the CDC. Below is a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments, plus links to more information.
What Causes Chickenpox? Infection with the varicella zoster virus, or VZV, causes chickenpox.
Is Chickenpox Contagious? Yes, very. The VZV virus can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Close contact with open blisters can also spread the virus.
Medical Term: Varicella.
Signs & Symptoms: Symptoms include fever, headache, stomachache and dry cough. Eventually a rash of small bumps will form on the face, scalp, back and chest. The small bumps grow into blisters which break open and scab. Symptoms are usually mild, but can be severe and cause complications.
Treatment & Remedies: Most people will only need soothing home remedies such as over the counter antihistamines, non-aspirin fever reducers and cool baths with colloidal oatmeal. Doctors may prescribe antiviral medicines in serious cases.
- Most cases of chickenpox occur in children under age 15.
- Once a person has chickenpox, the virus usually lies dormant in their body for life.
- Occasionally the varicella virus can reappear as shingles, which is a non-contagious condition.
Sources and More Information:
This information is not meant to provide specific medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. We recommend you consult a qualified health care professional for diagnoses and treatment advice, and call 9-1-1 in emergencies.
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