So you wanted to know about chickenpox!
Here are a few facts on this common comunicable disease
• Chickenpox is caused by a virus called the varicella zoster virus.
• Chickenpox is usually mild but it may be severe in infants, adults and persons with an impaired immune system.
• Almost 100 children die every year in the US, whle more than 10,000 are hopsitalized due to severe chicken pox.
• Chickenpox is highly contagious, approximately 90% of persons in a household who have not had chickenpox will get it if exposed to an infected family member.
• The virus spread from person to person by direct contact, or through the air.
• Chickenpox develops within 10-¬21 days after contact with an infected person.
• Chickenpox has a characteristic itchy rash which forms blisters that dry and become scabs in 4¬5 days. An infected person may have anywhere from only a few lesions to more than 500 blisters on their body during an attack (average 200-400).
• Chickenpox is contagious 1¬2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs.
Effective medications (e.g., acyclovir) are now available to treat chickenpox in healthy and immunocompromised persons.
Facts on chicken pox courtesy CDC via medicinenet
Next time: chickenpox vaccine to be or not to be!