What causes chickenpox, and how is it spread?
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It can spread easily. You can get it from an infected person who sneezes, coughs, or shares food or drinks. You can also get it if you touch the fluid from a chickenpox blister.
What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox (varicella) is a common illness that causes an itchy rash and red spots or blisters (pox) all over the body. It is most common in children, but most people will get chickenpox at some point in their lives if they have not had the chickenpox vaccine.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptoms of chickenpox often are a fever, a headache, and a sore throat. You or your child may feel sick, tired, and not very hungry. The chickenpox rash usually appears about 1 or 2 days after the first symptoms start. Some children get the chickenpox rash without having a fever or other early symptoms .It usually takes 14 to 16 days to get the symptoms of chickenpox after you have been around someone with the virus. This is called the incubation period. After a chickenpox red spot appears, it usually takes about 1 or 2 days for the spot to go through all its stages. This includes blistering, bursting, drying, and crusting over. New red spots will appear every day for up to 5 to 7 days.
How is it treated?
Most healthy children and adults need only home treatment for chickenpox. Home treatment includes resting and taking medicines to reduce fever and itching. You also can soak in oatmeal baths to help with itching.
How many were affected?
Until a vaccine became available, there were an estimated four million cases/year. Since the vaccine was licensed in 1995, the number of cases of chickenpox had fallen 83%–93% by 2004.
When was it discovered?
Chickenpox was first discovered in the 1500's by a scientist named Giovanni Filippo. In the 1600's they came up with the name Chickenpox.
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