While less common than it once was thanks to vaccinations, chickenpox infections cause an itchy and irritating skin reaction. This disease is most common in children, but can often be prevented. If you suspect you or your child may have chickenpox, the providers at West Sound Dermatology can offer treatment options.
What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This results in an itchy rash. A vaccine is available, but chickenpox infections can occur and spread quickly among children who have not received the varicella-zoster virus.
Symptoms of Chickenpox
The primary symptom of chickenpox is an itchy rash with small blisters that contain fluid. This rash typically appears 10-21 days after exposure to the virus and may last up to 10 days. Other symptoms of chickenpox include fever, loss of appetite, headache and fatigue or malaise.
Chickenpox can typically be diagnosed through a visual examination of the rash. In some cases, your provider may also order lab testing through a blood test or culture of lesion samples. This is less common.
Most patients do not require treatment for chickenpox. Your provider may suggest a prescription antihistamine to relieve itching as the disease runs its course.
Some patients, particularly those prone to complications, may be prescribed an antiviral medication such as acyclovir to promote a faster recovery.
In some cases, your provider may also recommend administering the varicella-zoster vaccine within several days of exposure. This can lessen the severity of symptoms or prevent the disease altogether.