Chickenpox is a highly contagious childhood disease that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpes family. Very few children escape chickenpox infection. It spreads quickly. Coughing and sneezing-even laughing and talking-spread the illness.
A child with developing chickenpox will be contagious for one or two days before any symptoms show. A child who plays with an infected child during this period will almost certainly catch the disease. An infected child is contagious from a few days before symptoms develop until all of the blisters are dry and have formed scabs.
|Symptoms of Chickenpox
The first signs that a child is coming down with chickenpox usually include some combination of the following:
A day or two after these first symptoms appear, a child with chickenpox will develop the tell-tale rash, usually characterized by the following:
It starts out flat and reddish, centered on the trunk of the body.
A day or so after it first appears, it spreads to the extremities, neck, and face, and turns from red splotches into masses of tiny pimples.
It is intensely itchy.
The more intimate and more frequent the exposure to chickenpox, the more severe the case will be. This fact has very important implications, especially if you have more than one child. Children in different stages of the disease should be separated to minimize their exposure to each other. With minimal exposure, the second child to become ill is likely to have a less severe case of chickenpox, with less discomfort.
Chickenpox typically begins with a headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever, much like any other viral illness. A day or two after these early symptoms, a rash of flat, red, splotchy dots erupts, usually beginning on the chest, stomach, it and back, and spreading a day or so later to the face and scalp.
The red dots of the rash soon come together to form clusters of tiny pimples, which then progress to small, delicate, clear blisters. Some children develop 3 lesions; some develop 300. Once the rash erupts, expect new crops of blisters over the next three to five days. Scabs, which are the last phase of the pox, form five to six days after the blisters develop. These scabs last for one to two weeks before falling off, exposing tender, freshly healed skin.
Over the course of the disease, the rash shows signs of all the different phases of chickenpox, with some areas that are splotchy and red, some areas of new blisters, areas where sores are crusting over and scabbing, and areas of healing. es From eruption through healing, each and every pock is very, very itchy. It is the extreme itchiness of chickenpox that causes the greatest torment.
Chickenpox can be contracted at any age. Because infected adults tend to feel much sicker and more miserable with this disease than youngsters do, it's probably best to have it as a child. Once you have had chickenpox, it is highly unlikely that you will ever suffer through it again.
Tylenol, Tempra, and other medications) is helpful in relieving pain and bringing
Note: In excessive amounts, this drug can cause liver damage.
Read package directions carefully so as not to exceed the proper dosage for your
child's age and size.