- Overview of chickenpox
Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by Varicella Zoster virus. The disease spreads through the respiratory tract so it can increase the risk of outbreaks. Besides, season change or hot, humid air also create conditions for this virus to thrive. Over 90% of those who are unvaccinated against chickenpox are at high risk.
Chickenpox includes four periods as follows:
- The incubation period of varicella zoster virus is 14-15 days. If the patient is immunocompromised, this time may be shorter.
- At the prodromal period (24-48 hours), the patient has a mild fever. In case the patient is immunocompromised, he or she may have a high fever. What is more, there will be some accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, anorexia, headache, and red or pink bumps on the body.
- At the invasive period, the patient reduces fever and have blisters with fluid leaking. These blisters appear on the scalp, face, and gradually spread the body and limbs with different amounts.
- At the convalescent period, most of the blisters scab over after about a week. The majority of them do not leave scars except for surinfected bumps.
- Complications of chickenpox
There are several dangerous complications of chickenpox you should pay attention.
- Infected bumps: When blisters get broken or scratched, they can be inflammatory, leading to the infected skin, impetigo or even acute glomerulonephritis. If not treated in time, the damage will be deep, widespread, leaving pitted scars, which cause loss of aesthetics. If the situation gets severe, it can lead to cellulitis or septicemia.
- Pneumonia: This complication is more common in adults than children. It usually occurs on the third or fifth days of the disease. If expressions such as high fever, shortness of breath, breathing difficulty, cyanosis, chest pain or coughing up blood appear in the patient, it is very dangerous because it can result in the death of the patient.
- Encephalitis: Chickenpox can cause aseptic meningitis or even encephalitis, which is common in adults. With this complication, the mortality rate accounts for 5-20%. Although the patient is rescued, it is possible to leave severe sequelae or in a vegetative life.
- Complications for pregnant women:
- If the mother has chickenpox from 5 days before to 2 days after birth, the baby more likely to have chickenpox and have high mortality (about 30%).
- If the mother has benign chickenpox before birth for over a week, the newborn baby has antibodies, so it is not very dangerous.
- If the mother has chicken pox when pregnant are less than 20 weeks, there will be a small percentage (about 2%) of congenital chicken pox syndrome with signs of skin scars, underweight, eye diseases such cataracts, retinal damage and so on, short arms and legs or mental retardation.
- How to get rid of chickenpox
Due to no specific remedy, how to get rid of chickenpox depends on the detection of the disease in the first 24 hours. Based on the condition, the doctor will require the inpatient or home treatment for the patient.
The most important thing in the chickenpox treatment is skin cleansing and body hygiene.
- Allow the patient to rest in a cool, clean room and eat digestible foods.
- Pay attention to cut off the fingernails and keep the hands clean.
- Get the young children to wear gloves, rub the sterile talc or talcum powder over the bodies to help relieve itching.
- Have a bath with the antiseptic solution.
- Avoid rubbing the skin forcefully making blisters leaked.
Furthermore, the treatment of chickenpox symptoms is accessible.
- Apply methylene blue solution to the broken blisters.
- Use antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine or loratadine against itching.
- Take acetaminophen when the patient has severe pain and high fever. Note that never use aspirin or aspirin-containing cold medicines for children on account of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, which is a severe metabolic disease involving brain and liver damage resulting in death.
- Drop eye drops and nasal disinfectants twice or three times daily.
- Only use methylene blue solution when blisters leak. Do not use tetracycline, penicillin or Merbromin.
Apart from those mentioned above, using antiviral drugs is one of the ways on how to get rid of chickenpox.
- During the first 24 hours, at the onset of chickenpox bumps, use acyclovir, a kind of antiviral antibiotic, to help shorten the duration and severity of the disease. The dose depends on age or weight (for infants).
- In case the disease is more severe or has complications such as meningitis, or children is immunocompromised, use intravenous acyclovir is necessary.
- Observe the doctor’s prescription. Do not take medication or listen to tips on your own initiative, which can result in using the wrong medication, and get the chickenpox surinfected.
At the stage having just healed, the patient should also note the following.
- Protect from the sun and avoid scratching.
- Full complement vitamins and microelements for the skin by diet or oral medications.
- Maintain good hygiene and get enough rest.