Exanthematous diseases: chickenpox

Fonte: Stephen Hyde / Alamy / IPA

What is chickenpox, symptoms, incubation and contagion period, treatment and prevention.

What is chickenpox

La chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by a virus from the Herpes group. It's a'very contagious infection, and it spreads quickly among children who have never had it.

After a first infection, people are usually immune to the disease for the rest of their life. The virus, however, can remain latent in the body and reactivate itself many years later, giving rise in this case to the Sant 'fire.

Symptoms of chickenpox

The first symptoms appear one to three weeks after infection: in older children and adults it begins with headache and general malaise, followed by the appearance of pustules that affect the face and chest first and then spread to the rest of the body. These pustules resemble pimples, but some have small blisters on top containing a yellow serum. They typically remain for five to six days, and new pustules continue to appear for three to four days.

In small children generally there are no signs, but therash, that is, the rash. The pustules are itchy and if scratched they can leave small permanent marks: for this reason it is advisable to keep the nails short.

With regard to the fever, it is usually low on the first day, but can go up on the following days. However it must be said that it is not always present.

Read also: Fever children, what to do when they burn 10 PHOTOS

Chickenpox in children: photos to recognize it

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Chickenpox is a contagious infectious disease caused by the Varicella zoster virus. It manifests itself with a skin rash and low fever. Small palules appear for 3-4 days on ...

How long the incubation period of chickenpox and that of contagion last

Chickenpox incubation takes about 7-21 days from contact. Transmission to others is possible from 2 days before to approximately 6 days after the blisters appear. L'exposure to the virus It takes place through direct contact with saliva or with the droplets emitted by speaking, with coughing and sneezing or, again, through contact with the liquid contained in the vesicles.

How chickenpox is treated

In general, only the symptoms are dealt with, in particular with antifebrili - as paracetamol - to lower fever and malaise. Some pediatricians suggest giving the little patient a antihistamine to reduce itching. In the most serious and troublesome cases, the intake of an antiviral drug called Aciclovir may also be suggested, which helps to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the duration of the disease.

Can it be prevented? How does the chickenpox vaccine work?

Yes, chickenpox can be prevented with one vaccination. Vaccination provides two doses, to be administered at 13-15 months of life and at 6 years: the vaccine exists in a single form, to be administered together with the trivalent (MPR) - in this case two injections are made at a time - or in the tetravalent form (MPRV).

Since 2022 chickenpox vaccine is one of them required by law. Read also: Compulsory and voluntary vaccinations, the calendar

Chickenpox: 8 answers to mothers' doubts

Dr. Marta Luisa Ciofi degli Atti, epidemiologist of the Bambin Gesù pediatric hospital in the city, answers.

1. What can be done to relieve itching?
If the itching is very annoying, especially at night, an antihistamine can be given to the baby before bedtime. In addition to soothing the itch, it prevents bacterial infections that occur when babies scratch a lot.

2. Do alternative itch remedies work?
In the pharmacy you can find creams and powders that give some relief. The only recommendation with powders is to pay attention to inhalation: especially if the children are small, they could cause respiratory problems.

3. How to dress the baby when he has pustules?
Clothing should be light, white cotton and comfortable. Another tip is to keep it in a not too hot environment.

4. Can the bath be done?
Keeping the skin clean and well hydrated is important. So yes to the bath, which however must be short and done in lukewarm water. There are also no contraindications for washing your hair.

5. Does the sun hurt?
As long as there are scabs, the child must absolutely not expose himself to the sun. And even after, when the scabs are gone, but the skin still has small lesions, you need to be very careful. The best thing is to protect the little one with physical screen sunscreens (they are the white-paste ones that have a strong covering power) and keep the child as sheltered as possible with long-sleeved shirts and a hat with a visor.

6. What if there is a baby brother?
If the baby is breastfed by a mother who has had chickenpox, the baby is immunized for the first few months of life. This coverage disappears after 5/6 months. The advice is to use a few precautions: if chickenpox is around in the nursery school, do not keep it too close to the baby. In case of contagion, there is no need to be alarmed, but to consult the pediatrician and decide if it is appropriate to administer an antiviral based on acyclovir.

7. Are there any recommended foods?
There is no particular diet to follow. However, it must be taken into account that chickenpox could cause loss of appetite. So the little one should not be forced to eat. Acidic foods (such as tomatoes, oranges ...) which could irritate any blisters in the mouth are to be avoided. To prefer fresh foods such as yogurt, mozzarella ... But the really important thing is to make the child drink a lot: lots of water, but also fresh juices to entice him to drink.

8. Does the vaccine immunize for life?
Yes, the vaccine gives coverage exactly like chickenpox which once done cannot be repeated.

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The chickenpox vaccine


    Updated on 09.04.2022

    • exanthematous diseases
    • chickenpox
    • chickenpox contagion
    • chickenpox incubation
    • antifebrili
    • infectious diseases
    • 3-5 children years
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