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Chickenpox – symptoms
Chickenpox is one of the most common infectious diseases in childhood. It presents as an itchy rash, first in the form of lumps, which then develop into blisters filled with serum fluid. After 4-7 days, these blisters turn into pustules. The disease is accompanied by fever, well-being, headache and mini-pains. Blisters appear all over the body, sometimes even on the conjunctiva, as well as in the mouth and external genitalia. Itching causes the patient to scratch these lumps and blisters, which can lead to a bacterial infection. These scratched pimples can leave scars on the skin for the rest of their life.
Chickenpox is very hot. The risk of infection in a situation where we live together with a sick person and have no immunity is more than 90%.
The disease is caused by the herpesvirus VZV (HHV-3), which is also responsible for shingles. After infection, the smallpox virus remains forever in the body and “hides” in the ganglia, remaining asleep. Reactivation of the virus is favored by an immunocompromised state caused by another disease or, for example, by old age.
The chickenpox virus is transmitted both by droplets and by air, and it is very difficult to avoid infection. The sick person was infected as early as 1-2 days before the rash appeared. An unknown mother sends her child to a daycare or daycare and other children are infected there. Babies and young children can also get sick because antibodies donated by the mother do not protect against infection. Anyone who has never had smallpox and has never been vaccinated at risk of infection is at risk, including adults. Infects the sick for up to 6 days.
Chickenpox is unpredictable and carries the risk of complications
We cannot say that chickenpox is a mild disease, that’s all. Unfortunately, complications are possible, and these can happen even to children who were previously healthy. The course of this disease is difficult to predict and there is always a risk that the baby will not be as smooth as I would have expected.
Complications of chickenpox include:
skin complications, e.g. scabs, scars, severe bacterial infection, sepsis, including purulent dermatitis and inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, subcutaneous abscesses, phlegmon, necrotizing complications, ndolarlogical complications such as encephalitis and encephalitis and meningitis. Pneumonia is very dangerous and can even lead to death. There is also a risk of developing bacterial pneumonia)
Less common complications are hepatitis, neoplasia, myocarditis, arthritis, nephrotic syndrome (the most characteristic symptom is the loss of biak with urine).
The chickenpox virus stays in the body forever. After years, it can become active, causing an attack. The disease begins with malaise, excessive sweating, headache and fever, sometimes with a sore throat. Soon red streaks appear on the body, which quickly turn into blisters and then scabs. The rash appears on one side of the body, hence the name of the disease. It is accompanied by itching, burning and nagging pain. If the litter hits the eye or ear, it can damage these organs.
Watch the video Chicken pox in a child: how do you cope with it?
Risk that can be avoided
Chickenpox has a smooth course in adolescents and adults, and at this age the risk of complications and death is 10-20 times higher than in children. The disease is also a problem for pregnant women, infants, and people with immunodeficiency while being treated with steroids or cancer therapy.
There is a way to avoid infection and the risk of chickenpox complications: with the vaccine. There is an effective and safe preparation that prevents an infection or, if it occurs, significantly relieves symptoms. In our country vaccination against smallpox is recommended (not mandatory), but in many countries everyone is vaccinated.
It is best to get the vaccine in childhood. However, if you have not yet developed the disease (the disease makes you immune to life), you can get vaccinated even later, even as an adult. Getting vaccinated a few days after contact with the sick person (up to 72 hours) helps avoid the disease or relieve symptoms.
People get a chickenpox vaccine with a live vaccine, which is a vaccine that contains a weakened (attenuated) virus. The vaccine is given in two doses. Its effectiveness is estimated at 95%. and gives lifelong immunity in 9 out of 10 cases. It is well tolerated by the organism, rarely brings effects that are not specified. The first dose is given to children from 9 months of age. The second dose is 6 weeks later.
According to data from the National Institute of Public Health in Poland, there are currently around 150,000-220,000 cases of the disease per year, most of them among children up to 10 years of age. Approximately 1000-1300 patients need to be hospitalized due to the severe course of the infection.