Chicken pox is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the varicella virus. The word chickenpox comes from the Old English word “gican” meaning, “to itch” or from the Old French word “chiche-pois” for chickpea, a description of the size of the lesion.
Who Gets Chicken Pox
Chickenpox is a disease of childhood – 90% of cases occur in children aged 14 years and younger. Before widespread vaccination, the incidence of chicken pox in the United States approached the annual birth rate, averaging between 3.1 and 3.8 million cases per year. Chicken pox can occur at any time, but occurs most often in March, April, and May in temperate climates.
Treatment for chicken pox- Soothing Baths
Frequent baths are sometimes helpful to relieve itching. Adding finely ground (colloidal) oatmeal such as Aveeno can help improve itching. Oatmeal baths can be prepared at home also by grinding or blending dry oatmeal into a fine powder and adding about 2 cups to the bath water. One-half to one cup of baking soda may also be added to bath water to reduce itching.
Treatment for chicken pox – at a glance
* The treatment mostly consists of easing the symptoms.
* Remember that an infected person will be contagious until new blisters have stopped appearing and until all the blisters have scabs. They should stay at home while they are infectious.
* Avoid scratching the blisters because of the risk of infection.
* Cut the nails short or make the patient wear gloves.
* Pay attention to personal hygiene.
* Calamine lotion will help to relieve the itching.
* Keep the patient in cold surroundings, as heat and sweat may make the itching worse.
* In attacks of chickenpox where the itching is so serious that the child’s sleep is totally disturbed, antihistamine medicines with a heavily sedative effect can be used. Antihistamines are medicines for allergic reactions, motion sickness or insomnia.
* In serious cases of chickenpox in people with a weak immune system, aciclovir (eg Zovirax tablets/suspension), which works specifically against chickenpox can be used.
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