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It can kill - Facts you need to know about chickenpox


Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection causing an itchy, blister-like rash on the skin. The infection, also known as varicella, affects mostly children and for ages was considered a rite of passage. Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus.

This infection has been known to affect an individual only once in their lives although in several rare cases, it recurred for some victims. The people at risk of being infected are those that have not been vaccinated and those who have not had an infection in their lifetime.

While many people dismiss chickenpox as any other skin infection, there are some important facts they ignore. Some of these unchanging but principle actualities are:

It can kill

While chickenpox symptoms are the rash on your skin which disappears after a while and itchiness, for some people it escalates to dehydration, pneumonia, bleeding problems, encephalitis (brain swelling), bacterial skin infections, toxic shock syndrome, and bone and joint infections. All these factors are lethal and might lead to death if not handled in time.

It is highly infectious

Chickenpox spreads so easily from one person to another since virus spreads in the air through coughing or sneezing. Contact with a person who’s carrying the virus puts you at risk since the symptoms do not show immediately after the person got it. This causes such a huge problem since many people might get infected within such a short time without warning.

Dangerous for expectant women

Pregnant women who get exposed to Varicella-zoster virus may end up having a miscarriage. This is because they transmit the virus to their babies. Even when miscarriage doesn’t happen, the baby could be born with a birth defect called congenital varicella syndrome or newborn chickenpox which are equally lethal.

It can be managed at home

Doctors send patients suffering from chickenpox home usually after giving prescription to stop the itch. Only severe cases require extra care and admission. When managing chickenpox at home, the infected person should minimize contact with others to avoid spreading the virus.

Having an infection immunizes one for a lifetime

While getting chickenpox gives your body ability to develop antibodies and immunoglobulins that fight chickenpox in future, it doesn’t always work. Some individuals’ bodies will produce these ‘soldiers’ in little amounts inefficient to keep them from having a recurrent infection.

Chickenpox cases have reduced

After the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine in 1995, numbers of people getting infected have greatly reduced. Children and adults can receive this vaccine to reduce their chances or getting an infection or a reinfection. Doctors recommend that anyone who has never had chicken pox needs two doses of this vaccine.

It’s characterized by a red itchy rash

Accompanying fever, headache and fatigue, red itchy blisters that start with the face before spreading to the rest of your body are all characteristics of chickenpox. These itchy uncomfortable blisters can crop up anywhere, including in the mouth, eyelids, and genital area. 

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