Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease caused by the initial infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV).The disease results in a characteristic skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters, which eventually scab over.It usually starts on the chest, back, and face then spreads to the rest of the body.Other symptoms may include fever, feeling tired, and headaches. Symptoms usually last five to ten days. Complications may occasionally include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, or bacterial infections of the skin among others. The disease is often more severe in adults than children. Symptoms begin ten to twenty-one days after exposure to the virus.
What Causes Chickenpox?
The varicella-zoster virus causes the chickenpox infection. Most cases occur through contact with an infected person. The virus may be contagious several days before blisters appear, and it remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over. It is spread through:
- contact with blisters
What Are the Symptoms of the Chickenpox?
A rash is the most common symptom of the chickenpox. However, you will be contagious several days before the rash develops and will experience other symptoms first, such as:
- loss of appetite
About two days after you experience the symptoms mentioned above, the rash will begin to develop. The rash goes through three different phases before you recover from the virus. These phases include:
- developing red or pink bumps all over your body
- bumps filled with fluid that leak
- bumps that scab over and begin to heal
Prevention of Chickenpox
The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine. Children, adolescents, and adults should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine.
Chickenpox vaccine is very safe and effective at preventing the disease. Most people who get the vaccine will not get chickenpox. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually mild—with fewer red spots or blisters and mild or no fever. The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease.