|Chicken pox is a childhood disease generally occurring in late winter to early spring. It is caused by a virus which is transferred from person to person by infected droplets in the air. The virus gets into the air from the respiratory tract or from the fluid of small blisters which are extremely infectious in the first three to four days of their appearance. Following primary infection the virus can lie dormant in the nerve roots of the spine and later on in life can produce shingles.|
The incubation period for chicken pox is about 14 days and it generally affects children under 10 years of age. One attack confers permanent immunity. The first signs of the disease are an itchy rash associated with a mild fever. The typical lesion is a small blister on a round red base, which bursts producing a crust. This takes about a week to dry and break away from the skin. The rash appears on the scalp and trunk and later spreads to the face and limbs. It can also be present inside the mouth. New lesions appear for 1 to 5 days so that you can see the various stages of blistering and crusting on various parts of the body as the rash progresses. The whole sequence generally lasts a week to no longer than 2 weeks.
Complications include secondary bacterial infection which is quite common and may leave a pitted scar. Rare complications include pneumonia in the adults, and encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain.
Uncomplicated chicken pox is a mild disease. The patient should be kept in bed while the fever is present and calamine lotion can be applied to keep the rash dry and less itchy. Oral antihistamines help to stop the itch and also help to sedate a restless child. After the temperature drops back to normal, tepid baths or showers clean up the skin as the crusts are ready to break away. In the case of secondary bacterial infection, local antibiotic ointments may be necessary and in severe cases of infection, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.
If complications are suspected, your local doctor should be called in.
The child is infectious for approximately 5 days before the rash appears and for 6 days after the appearance of the last crop of the lesions.
|Aspirin and Young Children (Reyes Syndrome).||Autism.|
|Bed Wetting or Nocturnal Enuresis.||Breast or Bottle Feeding.|
|Chicken Pox (Varicella).||Childhood Immunization/Vaccination|
|Convulsions in Childhood.||Croup.|
|Cystic Fibrosis (CF).||Deafness in Childhood.|
|Diarrhoea and Vomiting.||Downs Syndrome.|
|Dyslexia.||Fever in Infants.|
|German Measles (Rubella).||Heart Murmurs|
|Heat Exhaustion in Children.||Hyperactivity in Childhood.|
|Nappy Rash.||Normal Development (Baby Care).|
|Speech Development in Children||Spina Bifida.|
|Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Cot Death.||Teething.|
|Your Baby Won't Sleep.||Whooping Cough (Pertussis)|
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