Chickenpox: symptoms and treatment
Chickenpox or, as it is also called, chickenpox is a viral disease. It has an acute course. The main manifestation of the disease is a small blistering rash that covers the entire body of an infected person. The virus is transmitted by airborne droplets and is highly contagious.
After contact with an infected person, it may take one to 3 weeks before the first symptoms appear. At this time, the person himself will infect other people, not suspecting that he is already sick.
In children, chickenpox is mild. Adults carry the disease harder. The same applies to infants and people with weak immune systems.
- Chickenpox symptoms
- The causes of chickenpox
- Types of chicken pox
- Chickenpox in different age groups
- Complications of chickenpox
- Diagnosis of chickenpox
- Chickenpox treatment
- Prevention of chickenpox
- Which doctor treats chickenpox?
The disease is manifested by an increase in body temperature and a skin rash.
Signs that would indicate developing chickenpox:
- Hyperthermic reaction of the body. The body temperature rises to 38 ° C, general weakness and fatigue increase.
- A pink or red rash appears on the skin.
- The rash looks like bubbles.
- When the bubbles open, they are covered with yellowish crusts.
- The man complains of headaches.
- The infected person may have stomach pain.
The disease develops sharply, a person experiences weakness in the body, his temperature rises. A rash begins to appear all over the skin, on the face, on the eyelids, in the hair.
At first, the rash is red and round in shape, and then they begin to rise above the level of the skin. After a few hours, the rash transforms into blisters. They have different sizes (1-5 mm in diameter). In appearance, these bubbles resemble water droplets on the skin.
After another 2 days, the bubbles dry out and become crusted. They disappear after a week. As a rule, no scars remain at the site of the lesion.
There are no marks on the skin after chickenpox, since the rash does not affect the growth layer of the epidermis. However, sometimes scars still remain. This happens when a person scratched the rash. With such an intense exposure, the growth layer of the dermis will be damaged.
Chickenpox has an undulating current. This is characterized by the fact that old crusts dry out and fall off, and new bubbles form again. The number of rashes is increasing all the time. Therefore, 3 types of rashes are immediately detected on the dermis: crusts, spots and bubbles. This continues for 5-14 days. At the same time, a person may have a high body temperature. After the crusts fall off, the wounds should shrink. This takes a few more days.
The incubation period after infection with the chickenpox virus lasts 10-23 days.
The causes of chickenpox
The disease is caused by the herpes virus, namely varicella-zoster. In addition to chickenpox, this virus can cause herpes.
In the external environment, the virus quickly dies if it is exposed to sunlight. At a temperature of +52 degrees, it retains its activity for half an hour. The virus is afraid of ultraviolet radiation, but it is very resistant to low temperatures. It is able to survive freezing and defrosting.
Once outside the human body, the virus will not live longer than 10 minutes. Therefore, infection when using common household items is extremely rare.
The source of the spread of chickenpox is a sick person. He begins to shed the virus into the external environment 2 days before the first elements of the rash appear. A person remains contagious until all the elements of the rash dry up and new ones stop appearing.
The source of the spread of chickenpox is a person suffering from herpes zoster. Both of these infections are caused by the same virus.
The virus is transmitted by airborne droplets. Susceptibility to it equates to 100%. After an infection, a person has persistent immunity. You can get chickenpox again, but it happens very rarely.
Types of chicken pox
Chickenpox can be mild, moderate, and severe. All of these forms are typical of chickenpox. If a person has a mild form of infection, then his body temperature does not rise more than 38 ° C, there are few skin rashes. The rash is represented by single elements. It lasts no longer than 4 days.
If the patient has a moderate form of the disease, then symptoms of intoxication increase, the body temperature rises to 38.5 ° C, there are many elements of the rash, they all itch strongly. The acute period lasts for 4-5 days. After the rash stops appearing, the body temperature returns to normal.
If the patient has a severe form of chickenpox, then the rash is abundant, they appear not only on the skin, but also on the mucous membranes. The body temperature reaches feverish values, the patient is sick and vomits, he refuses to eat, does not sleep well. The rash itches a lot. The acute stage of the disease lasts about 7-9 days.
Sometimes chickenpox can have an atypical course. Such an infection is rare, most often it is diagnosed in children with a weakened immune system, for example, after leukemia, during treatment with steroids and cytostatics.
Chickenpox with aggravated symptoms can be of the following types:
- Generalized form (visceral or disseminated). A person's body temperature rises. She reaches feverish marks. The intoxication of the body is very pronounced, there are many bubbles on the body. They even appear on the mucous membranes and on the genitals.
- Hemorrhagic form of the disease. The rash is accompanied by subcutaneous hemorrhages, they are noticeable in the mucous membranes. The patient complains of frequent nosebleeds, he develops vomiting with blood. Hemorrhages in internal organs may occur.
- Gangrenous form of the disease. In addition to the rash, areas of necrosis or gangrene appear on the human skin. They are covered with a hard scab, when the crust falls off, ulcerative defects will be visible inside.
Chickenpox in different age groups
Chickenpox is most severe in adults. The disease is complicated by pneumonia and encephalitis.
If the disease develops in a pregnant woman, especially in the first trimester, then this can cause intrauterine fetal death. When chickenpox develops in a pregnant woman at a later date, it threatens with an early onset of labor, or the birth of a child with congenital chickenpox. These children die as the herpes virus spreads throughout the body and intoxicates it.
Children under 2 months of age rarely suffer from chickenpox. If the infection happened before the time when the child was one year old, then this threatens with serious consequences, including: ear inflammation, pneumonia, pyoderma, etc.
Complications of chickenpox
Most people get chickenpox during childhood, after which they no longer get the infection. However, the herpes virus that provoked chickenpox remains in the body for life. Sometimes it reactivates in adults, which leads to the appearance of rashes. In this case, the person is said to develop shingles or herpes.
After the transferred chickenpox, scars may remain on the skin of a person. They are called pockmarks. Most often, such traces remain in adolescents. If the pockmarks were large, then they persist for life. When the pock marks are temporary, they go away in 6-12 months.
Sometimes it happens that a pregnant woman gets sick with chickenpox, who must give birth to a child from day to day. In this case, the baby is born with a severe form of infection.
Another danger of chickenpox is the development of complications that are associated with the addition of bacterial flora. A person may develop encephalitis, pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, etc.
Diagnosis of chickenpox
It is not difficult to diagnose the disease, as it has a set of typical symptoms. Laboratory methods are rarely used. This is most often necessary when the infection is atypical. In this case, bacteriological and biochemical blood tests can be carried out. If complications of the disease develop, then ultrasound, X-ray and other instrumental techniques may be prescribed to patients. Their specific set depends on the characteristics of the course of the disease.
Hospitalization of a patient with uncomplicated infection is not required. It is important to direct efforts to prevent the development of severe consequences of the disease. It is necessary to follow the rules for caring for skin rashes, which are aimed at preventing bacterial flora from entering open defects.
If the disease is accompanied by a high body temperature, a person suffers from severe headaches, he has breathing problems, then you need to call an ambulance and go to the hospital for treatment.
Treatment of chickenpox is reduced to the implementation of the following measures:
- Compliance with bed rest during the week.
- Compliance with a diet. Emphasis should be placed on dairy products, plant foods, fortified meals. It is necessary to remove spicy, salty, and pickled foods from the menu, it is recommended to refuse citrus fruits. The fact is that rashes can appear not only on the skin, but also in the oral cavity, and the use of products containing acids can provoke irritation of the mucous membranes.
- Drink enough water.
Bed linen needs to be changed more often than usual. The same goes for underwear. It is recommended to iron the laundry after washing.
- After eating, rinse your mouth.
It is forbidden to peel off the crusts that cover the elements of the rash. This contributes to the fact that infection is highly likely to enter the wound. In addition, a noticeable scar remains at the site of injury. In order not to accidentally peel off the crust, you need to cut your nails short, wash your hands often. Young children should wear cotton gloves on their hands. This will reduce the likelihood of damage to the elements of the rash during sleep.
Chickenpox is not a reason to confine your child to bed. However, you need to ensure that he does not engage in active and outdoor games. When the body temperature stabilizes, and all the elements of the rash are covered with crusts, it will be possible to go outside. The doctor decides on the possibility of visiting educational institutions.
If the crust has been peeled off and an infection has entered the wound, then an antibacterial ointment must be applied to the affected area.
External agents with anesthetic components are applied to the itchy elements of the rash, which are located in the external genital area.
The skin will not itch much if you wipe it off with boiled water and vinegar, and then sprinkle with talcum powder.
To make the bubble rash dry faster, it is recommended to lubricate it with potassium permanganate at a concentration of 10%, or brilliant green. You can also use the drug Delaxin.
If the body temperature rises above 38 ° C, then it must be reduced by taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
It is allowed to take a bath with potassium permanganate crystals dissolved in it. When the elements of the rash are dry, you can take a bath with plain water, but you should not make it too hot.
Drugs that can be used to treat chickenpox:
- Acyclovir Hexal.
- Viru-Merz Serol.
- Psylo balm.
- Epigenes intimacy.
If the skin itches a lot, you can take Suprastin.
With chickenpox and with any other diseases accompanied by a high body temperature, children are prohibited from giving Aspirin. This drug can cause a dangerous complication called Reye's syndrome. It poses a threat to the child's life.
Acyclovir is not allowed to be used to treat pregnant women as it has mutagenic properties.
If bacterial complications develop against the background of chickenpox, then the patient needs antibiotics. Their selection should be handled by the doctor.
Although medicine has made a significant leap in recent years, it is difficult to control the herpes virus, which causes chickenpox, by any means. When it enters the cells of the human body, it is problematic to influence it, therefore there are not many drugs for the treatment of this disease. Almost all of them boil down to relieving the symptoms of the disease.
If the body temperature with chickenpox does not decrease 4 days after the first rashes appear, you should consult a doctor.
Prevention of chickenpox
Every person who contracts chickenpox is a source of infection. Therefore, he should be in isolation, not attending educational institutions, not going to work. The limitation of contacts lasts until new elements of the rash stop forming.
If there was contact with a sick person, then you need to be more careful about your health for the next 2 weeks. It will not be possible to stop the spread of the disease in the circle of one family.
The main preventive measure against the spread of the chickenpox virus is vaccination. It gives a person long-term immunity, which lasts for many years. In Japan, a study was carried out that found that 20 years after the introduction of the Okavax vaccine, people remained 100% immune to chickenpox.
Vaccination campaign scheme:
- Vaccine Varilrix. It is administered only after the child reaches a year, in one dose (0.5 ml). After 6-10 weeks, the vaccination is repeated.
- Okavax vaccine. It is administered once to a child over a year old. The dose is 0.5 ml.
- Emergency prophylaxis can be given with any type of vaccine. In this case, the patient is injected with 0.5 ml of the drug in the first 96 hours after a dangerous contact.
Children who have not reached one year of age are not given the vaccine. If an adult did not have chickenpox in childhood and he had contact with an infected person, then you need to see a doctor. It is prohibited to postpone a visit to the doctor if it is a pregnant woman or a person with reduced immunity, as well as people who have undergone bone marrow transplantation.
Which doctor treats chickenpox?
If a child develops symptoms of chickenpox, contact a pediatrician. If the disease develops in an adult, then the consultation of a therapist is required, who will already refer you to an infectious disease specialist.
Author of the article: Danilova Tatyana Vyacheslavovna | Infectionist
Education: in 2008 received a diploma in General Medicine (General Medicine) at the Pirogov Russian Research Medical University. Immediately passed an internship and received a diploma of a therapist