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What is chickenpox and its stages?

Chickenpox is a contagious disease that primarily affects children under twelve. It is a highly infectious pathology transmitted by contact ( coughing, sneezing, eating, etc.) and occurs more aggressively if adults contract it.

The stages of chickenpox

From the appearance of the first spots, in the standard form, chickenpox lasts from 7 to 14 days, and the course of the disease is divided into three phases:

  • Incubation period and prodromal phase. The incubation period can last from 13 to 17 days, while the prodromal phase, or the time when fever, loss of appetite, cough, and malaise can appear, lasts approximately 48 hours.
  • exanthematic phase. It is the phase where the spots appear: initially flat, in a few hours (6-8), they fill with liquid, and in just 24 hours, these cysts will turn transparent to opalescent. The appearance of the spots occurs in “waves,” and their appearance may be accompanied by more or less intense itching. Also, in case of complications, the blisters can become infected and present with pus.
  • Referral phase. It is the phase in which the blisters turn into scabs, which then dry up and fall off, thus establishing the end of the disease. This process can last from 7 to 20 days and leaves scars only if the patient, by scratching, loosens the scabs before they completely heal.

chickenpox symptoms

The emergence of red patches, initially flat and subsequently elevated, followed by tiny blisters, is the most visible indication of chickenpox. Especially in children, the appearance of the spots can be anticipated or accompanied by a fever.

What are the causes of chickenpox?

Chickenpox is caused by the herpetic virus called Varicella Zoster (VZV) that affects only the human body and is transmitted by contact with the rash. However, it could also spread through the cough or sneeze of a person with chickenpox since we could inhale droplets in the air.

Can it be prevented?

Given the easy transmission of chickenpox, vaccination is the only way to prevent this pathology. It is free for children born after 2015, and school enrollment is mandatory.

Chickenpox treatments

In most cases, chickenpox clears up on its own within a few weeks. Complications arise only if the patient suffers from low immune defenses (caused, for example, by chemotherapy, the intake of immunosuppressants or cortisone, and in subjects infected with HIV ).

Possible complications

Although chickenpox is a mild disease, in certain cases, it can become serious and cause complications such as:

  • Bacterial infections in the tissues, bones, blood, or joints.
  • dehydration
  • Pneumonia.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Toxic shock syndrome.
  • Reye’s syndrome in children who take aspirin with chickenpox.
  • Death.

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