The common cold is that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus that triggers an itchy rash as well as bumps and red spots (pox) throughout the body. It is the most prevalent among children, however you can contract it later in life in the event that one hasn’t had the vaccine for chickenpox.
The majority of cases are mild, self-limiting illness for healthy children, but it can be a problem for pregnant mothers, newborns, adult as well as those with an weakened immune system.
What is the cause?
The Varicella-zoster virus
What is the duration of the incubation?
10 to 21 days
For how long can one be Infected?
It is highly infectious for a period of 1-2 days before the beginning of rash. This can continue for 7-7 days following the manifestation of Vesicles up until the time when scabbing takes place.
How does it get transmitted?
The virus is extremely contagious. It spreads primarily through by air (through the respiratory secretions that result from coughing or coughing) However, it could also be transmitted by direct contact with the fluid that comes from the vesicles.
What is the clinical Features?
It is usually accompanied by a body ache, fever as well as headaches and a general feeling of drowsiness. Other signs may include fatigue, nausea and decrease in appetite. The typical rash of the disease usually is seen 1 to 2 days after. The fever typically subsides after the rash has fully developed. Sometimes, there is the appearance of a rash, but without any of the usual symptoms.
The chickenpox rash can be seen through several phases. It usually starts with a reddish blister or bump, and then it bursts, it dries out and forms a crust over. The new lesions are seen in groups on crops for four to seven days. The scalp as well as the face, limbs, and trunk can develop the rash. However, it is not as severe on the soles and palms. There is a chance of an infection of the mucosa oral or conjunctiva (outer cover of the eye).
What are the potential complications?
1. Bacterial skin infections that are secondary to bacterial infections of the vesicles/rash could occur. If it does, antibiotics are typically required.
2. Encephalitis – inflammation of cerebellum, that causes acute cerebella ataxia (mainly for youngsters) and diffuse Encephalitis (mainly among adults)
3. Pneumonia is more frequent among adulthood (about 1.400 per case)
4. Hepatitis This is usually seen for those with immunocompromised
5. Reye syndrome is a condition that occurs in children who are exposed to aspirin
6. Infection in pregnancy:
(i) Infection by the chickenpox virus during early pregnancy (8 between 8 and 20 weeks) has the risk in congenital malformation.
(ii) Infection during the latter phases of pregnancy may predispose the newborn to the herpes zoster virus.
(iii) In the event that the mother experiences chickenpox in the 5 days before delivery, and also within 48 hours following delivery, the baby is susceptible to severe neonatal infections, and VZIG prophylaxis is suggested.
How can it be diagnosed?
The doctor will inquire about your symptoms before proceeding to check you. This usually is enough to determine the presence of chickenpox. In the early stage, it can be challenging for your physician to verify the diagnosis, and you could be asked to visit to your doctor within the next 24 hours.
In rare cases in the event of an urgent need for verification of the diagnosis (eg. for a pregnant woman where VZIG use is contemplated) or in rare cases, the detection of antigens from viruses via an immunofluorescence (IF) as well as polymerase chain reactions (PCR) is possible with vesicular liquid or cell smears.
What is the best way to treat it?
The majority of cases that are not complicated can be treated by taking anti-pyretics (for the pain and fever) as well as anti-histamines (for itching). Anti-virals (eg. acyclovir, famciclovir , and valcyclo) can be used to treat chickenpox as well as in less complicated cases they have been proven to reduce the time between development of new lesion, less lesions, as well as faster healing, however only if taken within 24-48 hours of the first rash appearing. Anti-virals that are administered orally are recommended for children with an underlying skin conditions like eczema, infants or adults, as well as smokers, as these categories have a higher chance of complications from chickenpox. Acyclovir in the intravenous route is recommended for patients who have an immune system disorder.
Prevention and Control of Infections
Cleanliness and the isolation of those suffering from the disease is essential to stop the spread of the chickenpox. It is possible to transmit the virus through respiratory droplets or through direct contact with lesions during the time of infected (see earlier). The varicella virus is apprehensive to desiccation, disinfectants, and heat, therefore simple measures of hygiene like washing hands with soap may eliminate the virus.
The vaccination against varicella virus can help prevent one from getting chickenpox. It is advised for people who are not immune to chickenpox, particularly those who are at greater chance of contracting the disease (e.g. health professionals and people who live in institutions).
The dosage regimens for vaccines are as the following:
(i) For children (i.e. children 13 years old) age) 2 doses are recommended. First dose between 12 and 15 months, and the second dose at between 4 and 6 years old.
(ii) Adults and children over 13 years: two doses of medication are needed at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks.
Since the chickenpox vaccine an active attenuated virus and is not recommended to be administered to people who have a severe immunocompromised condition or pregnant women.