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Chickenpox by Matt Peifer

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Take a second and remember back to when you were a child. Go ahead close your eyes. There was more than likely a time when your entire body was covered with red or pink little spots and dots, which made you itch all over. Known to most people as Chickenpox, I would like to take the time to further discuss Chickenpox as to why it occurs, its symptoms and treatments, and the virus causing this disease.

Known as one of the classic diseases for children, Chickenpox is a viral infection in which the infected individual develops blisters all over the body. These blisters are extremely itchy and I remember them being a huge nuisance when I had them as a child. The culprit of Chickenpox is the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpes virus family. This is the same virus that also causes shingles in adults. Chickenpox is a very contagious virus and can be easily spread to others. It can be spread from touching the fluids from a Chickenpox blister or even if someone with the disease coughs or sneezes around you. A person with Chickenpox can become contagious a couple of days before the blisters even appear on them, and will remain contagious until all the blisters have crusted over.

Most cases of Chickenpox occur in children younger than ten years old. The disease is normally mild, however, sometimes serious complications can occur. Usually, adults and older children will get sicker than younger children. If your child comes down with a fever, headache or stomach ache these can all be precursors to Chickenpox before the rash appears. The Chickenpox rash occurs around 10 to 21 days after coming in contact with someone who has the disease. On average 250 to 500 small, itchy, fluid filled blisters over red spots on the skin in infected individuals. On occasion, children with skin problems like eczema can get thousands of blisters. The majority of pox will not leave scars unless they become infected with bacteria from scratching.

Nowadays a vaccine to prevent Chickenpox is part of most children’s immunization schedule. While the vaccine usually prevents the disease completely, it sometimes can still occur, usually it is a much milder case than someone without the vaccine. Once the disease is contracted, there isn’t much you can do in terms of medication as viruses can’t be fought with medicine. They must be fought by the body and waited out. Some things to do would be to take lukewarm baths, apply soothing moisturizers, avoid exposure to heat and humidity, wear cool, light, loose clothing, and most importantly avoid scratching or rubbing itchy areas. Also, keep your fingernails short to avoid damaging the skin from scratching.

In conclusion, if your child is covered with red blisters all over their body that make them itch, it is more than likely Chickenpox the classic disease among children. Seek medical attention to be sure, and wait it out, try to make it as comfortable as possible for them.



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