Essay on Chicken Pox
Number of words: 1200
Chickenpox is a contagious disease that mainly occurs in childhood. It results from a primary infection with the varicella-zoster virus. The varicella virus is linked with severe complications, mostly in older adults. Chickenpox is one of the diseases that are easily transmitted. Ninety to ninety-five percent of people who get exposed to the virus develop it within twenty-one days. Chickenpox can infect everyone throughout the world and can be fatal if not properly taken care of. It is a cause of death to between fifty and a hundred people every year, with around 10,000 people being hospitalized for complications with the disease. Before its classification as a disease, chickenpox was often confused with smallpox, scarlet fever, and measles. This is because of similar characteristics of a typical rash. This led to the misdiagnosis of many people. This paper aims to describe chickenpox’s etiology, its history, spread, signs and symptoms, prevention, and treatment.
History of Chicken Pox
Chickenpox is a disease that only affects humans, and unlike other diseases, it is not caused by an interaction between humans and animals. The name is believed to originate from chickpea, a member of the bean family resembling a swollen pox or an itch. Chickenpox, also known as Varicella, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a type of herpes virus (CDC, 2013). The virus that causes chickenpox attaches itself to the host; it leads to a rash spread on different parts of the body. The rash is always very irritating, making it hard to resist not scratching. This virus causes an itchy, blister-like rash that first appears on the face, back and chest and spreads all over the body. According to Rudolf Steiner (2014), Chickenpox cause was an infectious agent of volunteers with vesicular fluid from a patient having acute Varicella.
Chickenpox was first recorded 400 years ago. The varicella-zoster virus can cause two diseases; chickenpox and shingles (CDC, 2013). Chickenpox is mostly seen in children under ten years old hence mostly classifies as a childhood disease. It is usually mild but can also present serious complications. Nevertheless, most healthy children tend to recover with no complications. Chickenpox is usually not a severe illness among children, but it becomes severe when an adult contracts it. Besides, the virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus remains dominant in the body and is likely to re-emerge as shingles during adulthood. One can also contract shingles if one had chickenpox previously. It is, however, not possible for one to develop chickenpox through exposure to someone with shingles. Second and subsequent attacks of chickenpox are also rare, but they still occur.
Spread and Transmission of Chickenpox
Chickenpox can easily be spread through contact with the actual rash or the air when someone having chickenpox sneezes or coughs since the droplets carry the VZV virus in the air (CDC, 2014). It is mostly contagious one to two days before the infected person gets the rash. The development of chickenpox then takes 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus. It is very contagious from 1-2 days before the rash appears. When one contracts chickenpox, they are immune to life. However, that ane can still contract chickenpox more than once. The chickenpox virus is mostly spread during late winter to early spring. It is highly contagious and always infects 90% of people who are not immune and are exposed to the disease (Hambleton, 2005). Chickenpox is transmitted through direct contact with vesicle fluid, airborne respiratory droplets, and indirect contact with clothes soiled by vesicle fluid. It can also be transmitted through people with shingles.
Signs and symptoms of Chicken Pox
Predominantly, according to the Center for Disease Control, CDC, the symptoms of chickenpox for the first 48 hours are fever, drowsiness, and headache. These are apparent before the rash. The symptoms appear from 14-16 days after exposure but can also occur ten days earlier or 21 days late after contact. The rash appears red, burning itchy dots all over the body, including the arm, chest, legs, and head. Next, the blisters get filled with clear fluid developing ulcers from the sores. Eventually, he blisters and sores dry up and are turned into scabs by crusting over. These lead to spots that vary per individual; some may experience extreme blisters while others experience fewer or barely have blisters.
Additionally, the rash tends to be irritated more by warm conditions. Chickenpox is thus easily recognizable because of its main sign, which is a rash. Though it is rare to get a lab diagnosis for chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus can be diagnosed through a blood test that detects antibodies (Rotem, 2005). The severity of chickenpox infection also varies as some people do not show symptoms at all. The risk of complications also tends to change with age, with a higher risk recorded in infants under 1 and individuals over 15 years old. Nevertheless, complications in childhood tend to be uncommon. On the other hand, adults with chickenpox may have severe lung diseases, and pregnant mothers are also at a higher risk of chickenpox infection (Rotem, 2005).
Treatment and Diagnosis of Chicken Pox
Chickenpox is diagnosed through clinical signs and symptoms. Its diagnostic feature is the rash which develops into clear vesicles and then dries into crusts; hence laboratory confirmation is never necessary (Straus et al., 1988). The treatment recommended by the Center for Disease Control for chickenpox is two doses of chickenpox vaccine for adolescents, adults, and children who have never had the vaccine. CDC highlights that children need to be vaccinated at the age of 12 to 15 months on the first dose and the age of 4 to 6 years on the second dose.
Chickenpox can be treated through an anti-itching medicine, and it can also be treated using lotions, fever controls, rest, and fluids. Products such as aspirin should not be used to treat chickenpox, especially fever control, because of associated vomiting and liver problems (Guilfoile, 2010). On the other hand, Acetaminophen can be used for fever control. Moreover, there is also a medication to reduce the severity of symptoms for high-risk children, administered within 24 hours of the start of the rash.
In summary, chickenpox is dangerous especially acquiring it beyond childhood. Despite being easily recognizable and treat, it is still a dangerous condition in adults and pregnant women as it risks harming the developing fetus. Vaccination is thus an effective way of preventing the disease’s harmful effects as it protects against the disease.
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