Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is typically characterized by a rash of itchy red blisters all over your body. The condition results from a virus and is more likely to appear in children than adults. Fortunately, since the development of the chickenpox vaccine in the mid-1990s, reports of the condition have decreased. If you’ve already had it, chances are you won’t get the infection again in your lifetime.
There are certain risk factors that may make you more vulnerable to contracting chickenpox. These factors include the following:
Chickenpox occurs from a virus that usually spreads through the air when someone around you sneezes or coughs. You can also become infected if you come in direct contact with the blisters of someone with the infection.
Once you’re infected, the incubation period is about 14 to 16 days. After that, you may develop a rash and blisters. Additionally, you’re contagious about one to two days before your rash appears and will remain contagious until all your blisters have dried up and scabbed over. Because of this, many healthcare professionals recommend anyone with chickenpox to remain home and avoid public settings for about a week after the first blisters appear.
In addition to developing red, itchy blisters, you may also experience the following symptoms if you have chickenpox:
It usually takes patients about 10 days to fully recover from a chickenpox infection. As the infection runs its course, it’s best to rest and remain isolated from others to prevent it from spreading.
If you think you or a loved one has chickenpox, schedule a visit with your doctor. During your appointment, your doctor will examine any rash or blisters you may have. While at your doctor’s office, you may also be separated from other patients to help prevent the illness from spreading to others, especially patients more vulnerable to contracting the illness than others. Adults who never received the vaccine, newborns, pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system are all more vulnerable to chickenpox than other groups of people.
In most cases, effective treatment options for chickenpox include a variety of nonmedical options, including the following:
If home remedies don’t work, your doctor may suggest the following remedies:
The prognosis for chickenpox hinges on how old you are when you develop the illness and what state of health you’re in when you do. If you’re a child and contract the illness, you have a high likelihood of making a full recovery. However, adults, infants, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system usually get sicker and have a more difficult time coping with the virus.
If left untreated, chickenpox may result in the following complications:
Blurry Vision from the Rash Spreading to Your Eyes