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Chickenpox (or chickenpox) is an acute infectious disease. In this case, the birth of a child with certain pathologies is possible. The common manifestations of chickenpox are a rash and a feverish state of the patient (usually a person stays in this state for two to five days).
Before the appearance of specific signs of the disease, there may be a prodromal period, that is, signs of chickenpox appear (headache, back pain, weakness, etc. The incubation period of the disease can last up to 23 days. But most often it varies from 13 to 17 days In most cases, the outcome of chickenpox is favorable.
Only people can get chickenpox. And only they can be carriers of the virus. Mostly children suffer from chickenpox. Once having had chickenpox, a person acquires immunity for life. In Russia, the vaccination against chickenpox is not included in the calendar of mandatory preventive vaccinations (however, in some countries, in particular, in the USA and Japan, a mandatory vaccine against this disease has been introduced).
Chickenpox is an infectious disease. The causative virus belongs to the Herpesviridae family - herpes viruses (in this case, it is varicella-zoster). This virus can cause only two diseases. The first is chickenpox. The second, shingles (or herpes zoster), occurs mainly in people of mature age. The virus that causes chickenpox is only pathogenic when it comes to humans. In the external environment, the varicella-zoster virus dies in just a few hours (even minutes), that is, in the external environment it is unstable. The source of infection is a sick person. A person with chickenpox poses an epidemic danger to others for a fairly long period. It starts from the end of the epidemic period (from the last two days) and lasts until the crusts fall off. The susceptibility to this disease can be called unique, since it is 100%. In a generalized form, the penetration of the virus into the human body and the beginning of the development of chickenpox occur according to the following scheme. The virus enters the human body through the upper respiratory tract. Then it invades the epithelial cells of the mucous membrane. His next "step" is fixation in the skin, where the virus enters the bloodstream. Having penetrated into human skin, the virus in its surface layer causes a pathological process. The latter leads to the expansion of the capillaries - a spot appears, serous edema - a papule and, finally, to the detachment of the epidermis - this is a vesicle. The causative agent of chickenpox can persist in the body. Under the influence of certain factors (in this case, provoking), this pathogen is activated and can cause local skin rashes. Shingles develops.
Chickenpox can be spread by touching dishes or clothing. This is actually not true. Otherwise, any doctor examining a sick child would become a carrier of infection, risking infecting children who have not yet been ill. To get sick with chickenpox, it is necessary to inhale particles of the pathogen of the disease, this path is usually called airborne. Therefore, you should beware of coughing or sneezing of a sick baby. Particularly critical is the period 2-3 days before the onset of the rash and 5-7 days after the disappearance of the last bubble. It is not surprising that in kindergarten, when one of the children falls ill, the others immediately fall ill. When the baby inhales the virus, it enters the bloodstream through the nose, which carries it throughout the body. The pathogen eventually finds its home in the skin and all the same mucous membranes. In these places, it begins active reproduction, and the immune system, in the fight against the enemy, kills those cells that are affected. As a result of this battle of the body with the herpes virus, small bubbles form on the skin.
Chickenpox is a childhood disease. Indeed, children are mainly susceptible to chickenpox. As you know, if a person has suffered from chickenpox, then he has immunity from this disease for the rest of his life (in most cases this is so). And since many people get sick with chickenpox at the age of six months to seven years, adults with chickenpox are rare. However, this fact is not something phenomenal either. An adult can get chickenpox a second time if his immunity is severely weakened, and very often the repeated course of the disease is more severe.
Chickenpox is widespread among the population. This disease is common throughout the world. However, the incidence of infection differs depending on climatic conditions - for example, in countries characterized by a temperate climate, bursts in the incidence of chickenpox occur in winter and early spring. And in countries with a predominant tropical climate, the incidence of chickenpox is extremely low. The prevalence of chickenpox is associated with the susceptibility of people to this disease (which is 100%). Therefore, any person with chickenpox can contribute to an outbreak of this infectious disease - it is almost impossible to stop it. Therefore, it is not surprising that almost all people on the planet are ill with chickenpox (after which they develop a stable immunity to this disease).
A rash is a common feature of chickenpox. This disease begins with a sharp rise in temperature. In this case, a rash appears on various parts of the body. At first it is represented by small pink spots. Their size is no more than four millimeters. After a couple of hours, these spots become bubbles (vesicles), the contents of which are transparent. After the vesicles burst (and this is an inevitable process), dark crusts remain in their place, which remain on the skin for two to three weeks. The rash is characterized by polymorphism, that is, spots, bubbles, and crusts can be found on each separate area of the skin. On the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract as a result of chickenpox, enanthemas are formed, which are bubbles. At the site of such rashes, erosion and sores appear, into which these bubbles can quickly turn. The ulcers have a yellowish-gray bottom, which is bordered by a red rim. If a rash occurs on the cornea, then keratitis is very likely to develop. If the mucous membrane of the larynx is affected by the rash, then laryngitis is almost inevitable.
Fever is another characteristic feature of chickenpox. The duration of this condition varies from two to five days. Sometimes there are severe forms of chickenpox and its complications. It can be encephalitis, pneumonia, myocarditis, etc. The febrile period usually varies from two to five days, but sometimes lasts up to ten days. The duration is associated with the profusion of the rash.
The chickenpox rash causes itching. Itching can occur with rashes, but it does not always appear. Itching is fraught with the following danger: children can comb the places of the rash, thereby the bubbles are destroyed. Due to the latter, wounds (formed at the site of the former bubbles) can be infected with microbes.
Chickenpox has no specific treatment. There are only recommendations that (at least as far as possible) must be followed. The recommendations include bed rest (which must be observed at least during the febrile period), lubrication of the elements of the rash with either 1% brilliant green solution, or 5% potassium permanganate solution. Keep your hands and laundry clean. Medicine advises the use of herbal preparations for chickenpox. These include flacoside (obtained from the leaves of velvet), alpizarin (obtained from the herbs of the icteric and alpine penny), gossypol (obtained from the processing of roots or cotton seeds, helepin (which is an extract from the aerial part of the penny cape). If itching occurs, itching occurs, then antihistamines are prescribed. The patient should avoid overheating. With overheating, the itching intensifies. Antibiotics are prescribed only for purulent complications of chickenpox, in other cases there is no sense in taking them. The latter include, in particular, abscesses. Prevention of chickenpox primarily includes isolation of the sick person at home.Those children who were in direct contact with patients with this disease must be separated for a period of time from the eleventh to twenty-first days from the moment of contact.
Chickenpox is characterized by the presence of a prodromal period. The prodromal period (as a rule, it is characteristic of infectious diseases) is the stage of harbingers of any disease (in this case, chickenpox). This period is characterized by the appearance of signs that are nonspecific for the disease. These can be weakness, headaches, loss of appetite, and more. The prodromal period of chickenpox begins one to two days before the onset of disease-specific symptoms (rash, fever). However, there are times when the prodromal period of chickenpox does not appear. In this case, the disease begins as usual - with the appearance of a rash on the body. Prodromal signs are often not expressed in children, but in adults they are much more common. The prodromal period in adults is more difficult and can be represented by headache, back pain.
Chickenpox is not a dangerous disease. Indeed, chickenpox cannot be attributed to serious diseases of an infectious nature. However, chickenpox can cause dangerous complications such as inflammation of the brain or pneumonia. And if the bubbles turn out to be infected with microbes a second time, then scars may remain on the body. Secondary infection can lead to sepsis.
There are severe forms of chickenpox. These include hemorrhagic, bullous, gangrenous. The hemorrhagic form of chickenpox can occur in patients who have manifestations of hemorrhagic diathesis (that is, a tendency to bleeding). In accordance with this, the presence of vesicles with bloody contents is characteristic of the hemorrhagic form of the disease. There may also be nosebleeds, bleeding on the skin and other manifestations. Bullous chickenpox can occur in adults with other serious illnesses. In this case, rather large, flabby blisters may appear on the skin. Poorly healing ulcers at the site of the blisters are also a frequent phenomenon for the bullous form of the disease. The gangrenous form of chickenpox develops in patients with weakened immunity. This form of the disease is often characterized by a rapid increase in size. It occurs by hemorrhagic transformation of the contents of the vesicles. after drying, crusts are formed. The color of the crusts in this case is black, they have an inflammatory rim.
Chickenpox vaccination is essential. Even considering the relatively high cost of vaccination, it pays off. It is enough to consider the following statistics. Until the time when the vaccination of the population against chickenpox was introduced in the United States, the following data took place. There were approximately four million cases of varicella annually. 10,000 patients required hospitalization. About a hundred children died. Overall, chickenpox is certainly not considered a major health problem. But due to its infectiousness, chickenpox is costly to the budget. In addition, shingles therapy should be included in the cost. Therefore, even economically, vaccination is advisable. However, in Russia, vaccination against chickenpox is not included in the schedule of necessary vaccinations.
It is much better to get sick with chickenpox in childhood. It is in childhood that this disease is transferred much easier, the course of chickenpox passes without complications. Some doctors even conclude that everyone should have chickenpox before age 10. But getting sick with chickenpox in adulthood (and even more so during pregnancy) is fraught with severe course and complications.
Chickenpox is most dangerous for pregnant women. Many doctors speak out against the chickenpox vaccine for children. But many of them agree on the need to vaccinate chickenpox for women planning chickenpox (if they do not have strong immunity to it). The importance of an appropriate vaccination increases significantly if the mother-to-be has older children who regularly attend childcare. It is necessary to get vaccinated even if (for objective reasons) the expectant mother works in a children's clinic, school or kindergarten. It should be understood that the chickenpox vaccination should be done some time before pregnancy (preferably 2-3 months). The need for early vaccination is due to the fact that the process of developing immunity to the disease takes a fairly long period of time.
Vaccination against chickenpox has a number of contraindications. The appropriate vaccination should not be given to those people who have previously experienced reactions to the components of this vaccine. It is not recommended to vaccinate pregnant women against chickenpox, as vaccination can be dangerous to the fetus. Vaccination is not recommended for people with impaired immune systems. Vaccination against chickenpox is used not only for the prevention of this disease, but also for its emergency prevention. In this case, if a person was vaccinated no later than three days after contact with an infected person, then in most cases the infection can be prevented.
The disease of chickenpox has been known since antiquity. This disease was first described in the middle of the sixteenth century by the Italian physician Vidius. In 1772 the specific name varicella was introduced. The essence of this event is that from this year, chickenpox began to be distinguished from smallpox. However, despite these facts, as well as the fact that the infectious nature of chickenpox was scientifically confirmed in 1875, the causative agent of this disease became known to science only in 1958.