It is an acute infectious disease caused by one of the most common viruses (Varicella Zoster Virus). The main sign of which is the appearance of a specific rash on the human body. The chance of contracting it for life is almost 100% and is considered to be a relatively mild childhood infection. However, the older a person is at the time of infection, the more severe the disease. Symptoms can also complicate the newborn period, the presence of immune disorders, pregnancy or combination with other infections at the same time.
Transmission of the virus occurs by airborne droplets from a sick person, who secretes it from their mucous membranes even a day before the first rash. And continues to be contagious to the environment for 4 days after that.
Symptoms during chickenpox occur alternately and, depending on this, there are four periods of the disease:
- Incubation (lasts 14 days on average). This is the time from the moment of infection to the first signs. Only in some cases may be manifested by fever or general fatigue.
- Prodromal (1-2 days before the rash). Children, as a rule, also have no symptoms, in adults there may be aches, headaches and a sharp rise in temperature.
- Rash period (approximately 9 days). The disease has a characteristic sequence of appearance (descends from head to toe) and evolution (first it is a small increase above the skin, then the vesicle, which eventually dries and forms a crust).
- Crust formation. It occurs in turn, starting with those elements of the rash that appeared first and provokes severe itching.
Importantly! It is forbidden to scratch, crack or peel off rashes at any time of their appearance on the body. This can cause poor healing and scarring.
Another characteristic feature is that the more pronounced the rash, the more severe and longer the disease will last.
Usually, drugs are used for treatment, which are aimed at reducing the symptoms that occur:
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesics: to reduce fever and reduce the intensity of headaches;
- Medicines that reduce itching: antihistamines (do not apply topically!)
- As a means of emergency prevention in the first 72 hours after contact with a patient with chickenpox, it is recommended to be vaccinated with 1 dose of Varilrix (0.5 ml). The effectiveness of its use in this period gives a chance to gain immunity without a severe course.
The main type of specific prevention is vaccination against chickenpox. At present, this is the same Varilrix vaccine that was previously also recommended for prevention.
According to the recommendations, it is allowed to take it after 9 months from birth and get 2 doses with an interval of at least 6 weeks.
Particular attention should be paid to women in preparation for pregnancy - to check for antibodies to chickenpox virus and vaccinations before conception. This is due to the fact that the course of the disease has a great negative impact on fetal development and complicates the process of childbearing.