Chickenpox is the common name for the varicella virus, a member of the herpes simplex family of viruses. It is highly contagious and usually affects children but adults can contract the virus also. Childen usually wind up covered in lots of tiny, itchy blisters that bust and leak fluid. In adult this same thing happens but their version of the illness is called shingles and can be much more severe.
The typical course a chickenpox kid must face is about a week in length from start to finish. In the first few days of obvious symptoms, a child will itch intensely and become broken out with lots of tiny spots. Until the blisters break, a chickenpox kid is considered to be highly contagious. Once the blisters break the chickenpox kid is not so dangerous to be around for those who have never had the illness. Chickenpox can be spread through the air, direct contact, and any droplet transmission during its contagious phase. When a person first becomes infected, they will not know while the virus incubates. This can take ten to twenty-one days. A couple of days before the blisters begin to appear are the most contagious time. Once the blisters show, they can take a few days to bust and then crust over and begin to heal. After this the virus remains in the body for life but will often help prtect against future infections. Most chickenpox kids never experience another bout again, but in adulthood once in a while stress can and will set off a case of shingles, the adult form.
When they become infected, a chickenpox kid is often under the age of ten. Once a person ages past this point, having a case of chickenpox can be considerably worse and last longer. Sometimes an adult infected with chickenpox can suffer severe symptoms that might require medical attention. If an infant contracts the virus and their mothers have already had chickenpox, then they will either have a very mild case or might not get it at all. If their mother has not had chickenpox or they do not pass on a high level of antibodies to their baby, then the infant can have a case so severe that it can be life threatening. Other skin problems that are concurrent to chickenpox can intensify their severity. If the child has any form of illness that suppresses the immune system, then special care should be given as the severity can be greater and more life threatening. In general terms, a chickenpox kid usually is sick for a few days and requires quarantining from others for about a time period of one week and there are little complications other than itching and boredom. Other symptoms that may accompany chickenpox include a fever, stomachache, and general ill feeling about the time the first blisters occur. Unless there are other health problems to consider, most kids are fine and have minimal if any scarring from intense scratching.
The classic rash is a telltale sign of the virus, but other tests can be done on the blood and blister liquid to determine exactness. Treatment usually includes a few days spent in bed, an antihistamine, and keeping a chickenpox kid from infecting others.