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Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster)<span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​About​​​​​​​</h2></span> <p> Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The initial infection causes an itchy, blister-like rash, which first appears on the chest, back, and face, and then spreads over the entire body. The chickenpox illness usually lasts about four to seven days.</p><p>After recovering, the virus can remain dormant in a nerve root.</p><p>When the dormant infection reactivates, it can cause herpes zoster or shingles. This is a painful blister-like rash that appears on the chest, face or one side of the body. </p><h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​How does chickenpox spread?​​​​​​​</h2><p>The virus spreads from person to person through direct contact with the blisters, saliva or mucus of an infected person. It can also be transmitted through the air by coughing and sneezing. </p><p>Children with chickenpox should remain at home and away from other children until all of the blisters have crusted (scabbed) over. </p><h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Signs and symptoms​​​​​​​</h2><p>A rash will develop on the chest, back, and face and then spread over the entire body. The rash will progress rapidly into itchy, fluid-filled blisters and eventually turn into scabs. It takes approximately one week for all the blisters to become scabs.</p><p>An infected person may also experience the following symptoms one or two days before the rash appears:</p><ul><li>feeling ill </li><li>fever </li><li>headache </li><li>loss of appetite </li><li>tiredness</li></ul><h2 class="sectHeading">Who is at risk?</h2><p>Chickenpox can infect any person who has not had it before or had the vaccine. People who work in, attend a school or childcare facility, or live with children are at a higher risk of becoming infected.</p><h2 class="sectHeading">Treatment</h2><ul><li>Calamine lotion and/or a cool bath with added baking soda, uncooked oatmeal, or colloidal oatmeal may help relieve some of the itching. </li><li>Keep fingernails short and clean </li><li>Minimise scratching to prevent the virus from spreading to others and to prevent skin infections. </li><li>If you scratch a blister by accident, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. </li><li>Consult your healthcare provider if you have chickenpox and you: <br>- are pregnant <br>- have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS or cancer <br>- had an organ transplant <br>- are receiving chemotherapy or immunosuppressive medications <br> - are using steroids long-term</li></ul><h2 class="sectHeading">Prevention</h2><p>Most adults in South Africa are immune to chickenpox because they had it as a child. </p><p>The varicella vaccine is not part of the Extended Programme of Immunisation (EPI) in South Africa and is not available at public health facilities. </p><p>You will need to visit a private healthcare facility to get the varicella vaccine. The ideal age for a chickenpox vaccination is between 12 and 15 months of age.</p><h2 class="sectHeading">Complications</h2><ul><li>Bacterial skin infections are common in children </li><li>Pneumonia is common in adults </li><li>Serious complications are rare<br></li></ul>GP0|#6d4d23f2-2de7-4a5c-898e-35b1367c6749;L0|#06d4d23f2-2de7-4a5c-898e-35b1367c6749|Chickenpox;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#d65ab879-2884-426b-a380-7b8f9433c812;GPP|#090e430c-3809-42d5-a80b-caea93b2beaf;GPP|#245ec7aa-a528-4cd3-bcac-597c292db711;GP0|#266c4237-2587-4460-b1c8-a8665d3e125b;L0|#0266c4237-2587-4460-b1c8-a8665d3e125b|Chickenpox;GPP|#4d9ccd12-a383-4753-97d8-71d13417b782;GPP|#36dcb5fe-6bfc-4ae9-92d7-8bd08d1f6414;GPP|#af370586-9ba3-404a-9d6e-02066ca42752Find out about the symptoms of chickenpox, as well as the prevention and treatment methods.0





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