Chickenpox is a contagious and airborne disease primarily due to varicella zoster virus (VZV). The disease can be easily spread through sneezing or coughing of infected individuals or through direct contact with the fluids secreted by the rash.

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How did chickenpox get its name?

There are many explanations offered for the origin of the name chickenpox:

  • Samuel Johnson suggested that the disease was "less dangerous", thus a "chicken" version of the pox;
  • the specks that appear looked as though the skin was pecked by chickens;
  • the disease was named after chick peas, from a supposed similarity in size of the seed to the lesions;
  • the term reflects a corruption of the Old English word giccin, which meant itching.

How do you get chickenpox?

The virus which causes chicken pox, varicella zoster, is passed on through close contact with an individual who has ongoing chickenpox. Touching the spots or pox when they weep will pass the virus on. Chickenpox is also spread in fine droplets of moisture, which contain the virus. The droplets are produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes, another person then inhales these droplets and may become infected.

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Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral disease that causes hundreds of itchy, fluid-filled blisters on the skin that burst and form crusts. The disease usually affects children, though adults may become infected as well. It is transmitted by direct contact with a rash or through contaminated droplets in air or moisture, usually spread by coughing or sneezing. The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) responsible for chickenpox is one of eight herpes viruses known to infect humans and is found throughout the world.

Varicella is transfered through touching the blisters of an infected individual.


Are antibiotics used to treat chickenpox?

Because chickenpox is a viral disease, antibiotics are ineffective against it. Your doctor will give you antibiotics if secondary infection has occurred -- that is, if the chickenpox bumps show signs of infection with bacteria.

Antivirals can be used to treat chickenpox in severe cases, but do not cure the infection. The virus remains in your body for life.


What happens if you pick a chickenpox bump?

Picking chicken pox pustules can lead to infection and scarring.


How long can you have chickenpox?

Chickenpox symptoms start between ten and 21 days after exposure, but usually around two weeks. The disease is most contagious a day before the rash appears and up to seven days after, or until the rash forms scabs. So altogether you have the chickenpox illness for two to four weeks.

After recovery, the chickenpox virus remains in your body for life. It can cause shingles later, a different form of disease caused by varicella zoster virus.


What causes chickenpox?

Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) causes both chickenpox and shingles. The VZV is a member of the family of herpes viruses, as are Epstein Barr virus (causing infectious mononucleosis, or "mono") and Herpes simplex (causing cold sores).

Chickenpox is the initial presentation, and is usually a childhood infection that is short lived and self-limiting. It is a highly contagious airborne disease (spread easily through coughing or sneezing of infected individuals), but can also be spread by direct contact with secretions from the rash. It can also be passed along by exposure to the rash of a person with shingles.

A person with chickenpox is infectious one to two days before the rash appears, and remain contagious until all lesions have crusted over (this takes approximately six days). Crusted lesions are not infectious.

Chickenpox seldom causes scarring, yet when it does, the scars most often occur around the eyes and consist of a small depression. Chickenpox lesions can become infected, usually from scratching and most frequently with bacteria called Staphylococcus.

In adults, the disease is more severe, and can cause pneumonia, hepatitis,and encephalitis.In particular, up to 10% of pregnant women with chickenpox develop pneumonia, and the infection can casue deformities in their fetuses.Varicella can be lethal to adults with impaired immunity.

Like many other herpes viruses, it usually stays in the body for life, but remains latent in the spinal nerve roots; it can reactivate in later life, to produce a painful rash called shingles.


How do you prevent chickenpox?

The chickenpox vaccine is the best way to prevent chickenpox. The chickenpox vaccine is recommended for :

· Young children. Children between 12 months and 12 years should receive two doses of the chickenpox vaccine.

· Unvaccinated older children. Children ages 7 to 12 years who haven't been vaccinated should receive two catch-up doses of the chickenpox vaccine, given at least three months apart. Children age 13 or older who haven't been vaccinated should also receive two catch-up doses of the vaccine, given at least four weeks apart.

· Unvaccinated adults who've never had chickenpox .Adults who've never had chickenpox or been vaccinated usually receive two doses of the vaccine, four to eight weeks apart. If you don't remember whether you've had chickenpox or the vaccine, a blood test can determine your immunity.


Why are you unlikely to get chickenpox twice?

Through a process called active immunity, your body protects you from reinfection with chickenpox after you have it. Basically, your immune system fights off the virus the first time, and a few of the white blood cells remember the shape of the virus and stay in your blood. Then when you are exposed to the virus again, and it gets past your natural barriers, the white blood cells (memory cells) that remember produce antibodies more quickly to fight it off. In addition, the body produces more white blood cells that can fight the virus. Memory cells release antibodies into the bloodstream.

A vaccination works similarly; you are infected with a very mild form of the virus that allows you to build up an immunity to it.

You might think, "Well why have i gotten a cold more than once or the flu?" It's because there are MILLIONS of different types of colds and flus. Some viruses change and adapt so they can live; therefore your white blood cells do not recognize them when re-exposed. Because the flu or cold can also mutate, you can catch the same one twice but it's a slightly different virus. Because flu and cold viruses change their outer coat frequently, infection from the same stain of virus repeats rarely. RNA viruses changes there outer coats frequently compared to DNA viruses like chickenpox.


How do you treat chickenpox?

There are medical treatments for chickenpox for people with severe infection (oral antivirals like acyclovir, or IVIG in severely ill patient), but most people do well with home remedies and over-the-counter treatments:

  • Take something cold and put it on the rash. that should stop the itching.
  • Do not itch anymore- it will become worse.
  • Polaramine antihistamine 6mg repetabs really help with the discomfort and itch. The pharmacist also recommended Chemmart Strong Pain with Calmative tablets..(they contain Paracetamol 500mg, Codeine Phosphate 10mg and Doxylamine Succinate 5.1mg.) Another helpful product was McGloins Animine Lignocaine Anti-itch lotion. ( this has a anisthetic properties that numbs the area slightly. Good for kids if you dont like giving them tablets.
  • You can either take a BATH with oatmeal in it or with Aveeno in it to take away the itch
  • just let it be!
  • chamomile oil can help stop itchiness but time is the only thing that will make them go away
  • bathing in cool or lukewarm water once a day can help the itch. Adding four to eight ounces of baking soda or one or two cups of oatmeal to the bath is a good idea.
  • An antihistamine such as hydrocortisone cream is quite effective at treating the itching and a safe organic alternative wold be an oatmeal bath.
  • do not administer aspirin or aspirin-containing products, as this can cause a fatal condition known as Reye's syndrome in children.
  • You can also put turmeric powder mixed with lime juice on the infected area.
  • mix some anti-itching liquid into the bath water such as pinetarsarol.
  • Tylenol for fever
  • Use Calamine lotion to stop the itching. Eventually they will go away.
  • the ayurvedic leaves neem is also helpful to lose chicken pox
  • One good way of easing the symptoms of chicken pox is to take a salt bath.
  • spraying the room with lavender.

What type of microbe causes chickenpox?

Chickenpox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster virus, sometimes abbreviated VZV. Chicken pox is a contagious viral disease that produces itchy blisters. Varicella-zoster virus is a DNA virus.


What are the signs and symptoms of chickenpox?

The best-known signs of chickenpox are:

  • A red, itchy rash that initially may look like insect bites
  • Small, liquid-filled blisters that break open and crust over

The chickenpox rash occurs in three stages. First, there are raised pink or red bumps (papules). These bumps will turn into fluid-filled blisters (vesicles). And, finally, the vesicles will crust over and scab. It's possible that all three of these stages may occur at once.

The rash may be preceded by or accompanied by:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain or loss of appetite
  • Mild headache
  • General feeling of unease and discomfort (malaise) or irritability
  • A dry cough
  • Headache

Common sites for the rash include the face, scalp, chest and back. The rash can also spread across your entire body, even into your throat, eyes and vagina. New spots continue to appear for several days. In healthy children, the disease is generally mild.


Can you get chickenpox more than once?

Yes, you can, particularly in immuno-compromised persons.. It doesn't usually happen, though, because either vaccination or one case of the viral disease (varicella zoster) usually results in immunity. It is more dangerous if it recurs in an adult, because it manifests as shingles (called herpes zoster). Shingles is a rash caused by the chicken pox virus that adults get even if they had chicken pox. Shingles does not cause bumps over the entire body, but instead occurs in one area.

Normally when you get chicken pox, your body forms cells to "remember" the virus's proteins. The virus is killed off, so you will not be able to get it again. But you can still get shingles, because some of the virus remains dormant in nerve cells in the body.

In most cases, getting chickenpox once means you will not get it again. This is called life-long immunity. But in rare cases, a person might get it again. Once you are affected by the varicella, your white blood cells already recognize the virus and can quickly make the correct antibody to combat this.

Patients under the impression that they have chickenpox for the third, fourth, or tenth time should question the diagnosis. A different illness is likely to be the case, and it makes sense to consult with your primary care provider, and possibly a specialist in infectious disease, to determine the real cause of your rash.

If you have chicken pox the first time but only got it mildly then you might get them again.

Shingles (infection)

Can chickenpox cause shingles to recur?

Shingles are not triggered by subsequent exposure to chickenpox.

Shingles (infection)

Can you get shingles from someone who has chickenpox?

No, you can not get shingles from someone with chickenpox. You can only get shingles if you yourself have had chickenpox in the past, even if you had it when you were too young to remember. You cannot catch shingles from another person nor from an animal or bird. However, you can get chickenpox from another person.

Shingles is a reactivation of a person's previous infection with chickenpox. As the efficiency of the immune system declines with age, older people are more likely to develop shingles. Shingles may also follow a stressful episode. People undergoing cancer treatment are at risk for a flare up. Vaccinations are strongly recommended.

Shingles (infection)

Can you get chickenpox and shingles at the same time?

A person who has shingles can infect others with chicken pox, but only if those persons (usually children) never had chicken pox before. If a person with shingles is around a person/child who already had chicken pox, the other people won't get chicken pox or shingles.

The defining factors in shingles are:

  • The person already had chicken pox
  • The person is generally over 50 years old
  • The person may also have a compromised immune system

Can you drink milk when you have chickenpox?

Yes, there are no dietary restrictions when you have chickenpox. When i had my chickenpox it was terrible. you lost appetite and everything and literally milk is the best you can do.


Can you get chickenpox on your scalp?

Yes, you can get chickenpox on your scalp; it's a very common location. You can get them ALL over your body, even in one's mouth and down one's throat. Don't pick off the scab it will leave a scar.


How was chickenpox discovered?

Discoveries about chickenpox have been ongoing for over a thousand years:

  • Chickenpox was described clinically by a Persian scholar, Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi, the ninth century. He didn't differentiate between chickenpox and smallpox, though.

  • Giovanni Filippo of Italy differentiated between chickenpox and scarlet fever in the sixteenth century.

  • In the 17th century, an English physician, Morton, called a disease "chickenpox" that seemed to be a less dangerous form of smallpox.

  • In the 18th century, another Englishman proved that smallpox and chickenpox were different diseases.

  • In the late 19th century, the relationship of chickenpox and herpes zoster was established, and a scientist named Steiner proved that it was an infectious disease.

  • The link between chickenpox and herpes zoster was proven in the 1950s.

  • Live weakened chickenpox vaccine was invented in the 1970s. The vaccine was approved for use in March 1995 in the US.

  • The first anti-herpes medication, acyclovir, was invented in the 1980s.


Who invented chickenpox vaccine?

Live Oka strain varicella vaccine was developed by Michiaki Takahashi et al. in the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka Univ. in 1974.


Can you get chickenpox if you had the vaccine?

Perhaps. It takes a few weeks for the immune system to build up a protection, so if you are exposed very soon after the vaccine, it is possible.

Infectious Diseases

Does chickenpox turn black when it dries?

On some patients, the lesions can turn black when scabbed due to dried blood.


What organs or systems does chickenpox attack?

The varicella-zoster virus enters through the respiratory system and colonizes the upper respiratory tract. Initial replication is in the nasopharynx and lymph nodes. Four to six days later, the virus spreads through the circulatory system to the cells of the spleen and liver, and to the dorsal nerve ganglia, where it remains for life.

After a week the virus travels to the viscera and skin, causing the typical skin lesions.
the chicken pox effects the nervous system (the nerves to be exact), the integumentary system (the skin), and i think that about covers it.oh and the lymphatic system.


Where is chickenpox most commonly found?

Chickenpox is found worldwide. It is less common in those countries that have high vaccination rates.

Dog Health
Shingles (infection)

Can a dog get shingles or chickenpox?

Most human illnesses and infections do not transfer to animals, and most animal illnesses and infections do not transfer to humans. You can check with your vet, but you should be safe to pet your dog or cat. However, do wash your hands before and afterwards. Don't let your pet or any person touch the open sores.
No. The virus that causes chicken pox affects humans and a few other primates, such as gorillas. Most viruses, bacterias, fungi etc are species specific. Some of the few that can cross species are ringworm or some of the tick-borne diseases such as Lyme.
A dog can't get chickenpox. Chickenpox only affects humans and a few other primates.
No because Animals can not get illnesses from humans just like humans can not get illnesses from animals

Viruses (biological)

What levels of varicella titer are negative?

Anything lower than 0.91 is a negative result.


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