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What is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a disease caused by a varicella-zoster viral infection. This skin disease causes a red, itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease for people who have never suffered from the disease or who have never been vaccinated.

Chickenpox is common and generally affects children, although you are still at risk of contracting it at any age. This skin disease will improve by itself within a week without the need to see a general practitioner. However, consult your doctor if symptoms do not improve.

Fortunately, there is currently a vaccine available to protect children from the transmission of this type of chickenpox disease. Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the transmission of this disease and the possibility of complications.

Who Is At High Risk of Chicken Pox?

Children under 2 years old are the targets most at risk of chickenpox. According to WebMD, 90% of all cases are experienced by children. But older children and adults can also contract chickenpox.

Causes of Chickenpox

The main cause of chickenpox infection is a virus that can spread through direct contact with the chickenpox rash. The disease can also spread when chickenpox sufferers cough or sneeze and you inhale the droplets.

The spread of chicken pox is very easy. You can contract the virus by inhaling particles that come from the chickenpox blisters or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. Chickenpox is most contagious 1 to 2 days before the rash appears until all the blisters on the skin dry out and harden. You can catch the virus by inhaling the particles that come from the chickenpox blister or by touching the object that the particles land on.

The most effective way to avoid the spread of the chickenpox virus is by getting vaccinated. Children who have never suffered from chickenpox should get two doses of the vaccine, at the age of 12 to 15 months and at the age of 4 to 5 years. Meanwhile, children over the age of 13 who have never been vaccinated should get two separate doses of the vaccine, at least within a 28 day interval. 

When to See a Doctor for Chickenpox

If the symptoms of chickenpox do not go away, immediately consult a general practitioner or dermatologist to get the right treatment. Your doctor usually will diagnose chickenpox based on the shape of the rash.

If there are doubts about the diagnosis results, chickenpox can be confirmed by conducting a number of laboratory tests to obtain more accurate results. This includes blood tests or blood culture examinations.

Here are the phases of the chickenpox rash that may appear on your skin: 

  1. Chickenpox starts with red bumps. They can appear anywhere on your body.
  2. Small fluid-filled blisters. The blisters may break and may spread or stay in a small area.
  3. Scabs appear. You may develop more blisters than the scabs.

Symptoms of Chickenpox

Symptoms of chickenpox appear within 10 to 21 days after you have direct contact with someone infected by the virus. Most people can recover in about 2 weeks. Chickenpox is generally mild, especially in children. But in severe cases, the blisters can spread to the nose, mouth, eyes and even genitals.

The presence of other symptoms that may appear 1 to 2 days before the rash include:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue and feeling unwell (malaise).

New bumps will continue to appear for several days. You will experience all three phases of rash in the form of the appearance of bumps, blisters, and scab lesions simultaneously.

Be aware of the transmission of your chickenpox condition to others, as you can spread the virus to others up to 48 hours before the rash appears. During that time, the virus continues to spread until all the ruptured blisters crust.

In severe cases, a rash can cover your entire body, and lesions may appear in your throat, eyes, mucous membranes of the urethra, anus and vagina.

Treatment for Chickenpox

Chickenpox can usually heal within 5 to 10 days. But if you experience an itchy rash caused by the virus, it may take longer for you to recover. There are several treatment methods that you can do at home to relieve the symptoms of chickenpox, including:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

If you have a high fever or pain caused by chickenpox, use Tylenol. This medication helps relieve pain due to wounds that develop on your skin or in your mouth. Avoid anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, as they can be very painful.

Avoid Scratching Blisters 

The blisters may feel very itchy which makes you want to scratch them. However, scratching may lead to a bacterial skin infection. It can also cause the appearance of scarring.

Stay Calm

Heat and sweat will make your skin itch even more. Use a cold, wet rag to wipe down a very itchy area. It will soothe your skin. Apply a cool compress to the itchy skin as this will help soothe your skin. 

Stay Hydrated

Meet your body’s fluid needs to stay well hydrated. This will give your body more protection from the virus. 

Take Medications Prescribed by Your Doctor

If you are exposed to the virus from a person suffering from chickenpox but have not shown symptoms, your doctor may give you intravenous immunoglobulin. This can help prevent the chickenpox from becoming worse.

Treatment Cost for Chickenpox

Treatment cost for chickenpox varies greatly, depending on the severity of the disease and the chosen method of treatment.

For more details regarding the estimated treatment cost for chickenpox at home or abroad, you can contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Chickenpox

The most recommended way to prevent chickenpox is by getting the varicella-zoster vaccine. The vaccine is usually administered to children starting at age 1. 

This vaccine also acts as a protector for people prone to chickenpox exposure, such as women who are planning for pregnancy. However, it is recommended to consult your doctor first to find the best solution.

There is also a similar vaccine with higher doses for elderly people who already suffer from chickenpox to help prevent shingles. Those over the age of 65 should consult a doctor to see if this vaccine can help them.

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