Chickenpox - Wet Leaves - Varicella

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Chickenpox - Wet Leaves - Varicella
Chickenpox - Wet Leaves - Varicella
Video: Chickenpox - Wet Leaves - Varicella
Video: Chickenpox, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. 2023, February
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Chicken pox in children

Chickenpox (wet leaf, sheep leaf or varicella) is caused by the highly contagious varicella zoster virus (VZV). They mostly occur between the ages of two and six, but can occur at any age. Children who have had chickenpox are usually protected from the disease for life…

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How is chickenpox transmitted?

The disease is only transmitted through people who are sick, usually through contact with the rash, more rarely through droplets (when sneezing, coughing or speaking), and possibly also with the air. Infectiousness begins one to two days before the rash appears and ends around a week later, before the last crusts begin to fall off. After the varicella has subsided, the virus withdraws into the spinal cord and remains here permanently.

Note The time from infection to the appearance of the first symptoms is two to three weeks, in exceptional cases up to four weeks.

What are the symptoms?

Most of the time, a vesicular rash (with or without an increase in fever) occurs suddenly and spreads over the whole body. Small nodules develop into vesicles two to five millimeters in size, which are sometimes itchy. They have a water-clear content, are surrounded by a red border and burst with light pressure. Since the rash develops in phases, you will find small red nodules, fresh blisters and drying skin lesions covered with a crust next to each other.

In addition to the skin, the oral mucosa, the conjunctiva and the genital mucosa can also be affected. There are often small sores in the mouth that can be so painful that children will not want to eat. After a few days, all skin changes will dry off. The crusts stick for another seven to ten days, but are no longer infectious. After the crusts fall off, there are often unpigmented, light areas for a long time, sometimes white scars caused by scratching remain.

How is the diagnosis made & how is the treatment carried out?

The doctor usually uses the changes in the skin to determine whether the child actually has chickenpox. A laboratory test confirms the diagnosis. In healthy children, chickenpox is only treated topically with anti-itch lotions. For patients with a weakened immune system or other medical risks, the doctor will consider intravenous antiviral therapy.

Complications

Bacterial infections of the vesicles can lead to complications such as pneumonia, otitis media or kidney infections. It can also lead to cerebellar inflammation, but this usually heals without any consequential damage. Severe forms with a fatal outcome can occur with immunodeficiency. Children who receive cortisone over a longer period of time must therefore be specifically protected against chickenpox infection (with immunoglobulin or vaccination).

Chickenpox occurs when initially infected with VZV. If the virus is re-infected, or as a special form of recurrence, shingles (herpes zoster) can develop.

Whom can I ask?

As soon as the first signs of illness appear, you should take your child to a doctor specializing in general medicine or paediatrics.

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