Chickenpox is a common and contagious illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Most people think of it as a childhood disease, but it can affect adults too. The main symptom is an itchy rash that turns into fluid-filled blisters. While usually mild, it can sometimes lead to serious complications. Getting vaccinated is a great way to prevent chickenpox.
Below, you’ll find ten important things to know about this illness.
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1. What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a viral infection that makes you feel itchy and tired. It’s most famous for the red spots that appear on your skin. These spots turn into blisters filled with liquid and then scab over. You might also have a fever or lose your appetite.
2. How Do You Get Chickenpox?
If someone who has chickenpox coughs or sneezes near you, you might catch it too. You can also get it if you touch the blisters or the things that the person has touched.
3. What Are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?
If you have chickenpox, you’ll notice red spots that turn into blisters. You might feel itchy and have a fever, headache, or sore throat. The spots usually show up on your face, chest, and back first and then spread to other parts of your body.
4. Can Adults Get Chickenpox?
Yes, adults can get chickenpox, but it’s more common in kids. If you never had chickenpox or the vaccine when you were younger, you could still catch it as an adult. If adults get it, they might feel even sicker than kids do.
5. How Long Does It Last?
Chickenpox usually lasts about 5 to 10 days. The spots will dry up and turn into scabs during this time. And your other symptoms will go away with time and rest.
6. How is it Treated?
If you have chickenpox, you’ll probably need to stay home from school and rest. You can take baths with special oatmeal products and lotions like calamine to help with itching. And your doctor might recommend medicine for fever or discomfort.
7. Can Chickenpox be Serious?
For most people, chickenpox is just a nuisance. But sometimes, it can cause big problems, especially in babies, pregnant women, or people with weak immune systems.
8. Is There a Vaccine?
Yes, there is a vaccine that can protect you from getting chickenpox. Most kids get this shot when they’re young.
9. Can You Get Chickenpox More Than Once?
According to medical experts, most people who have had chickenpox won’t get it again. But the virus can stay in your body and cause a disease called shingles when you’re older.
10. Can You Prevent Chickenpox?
Yes, you can! There’s a vaccine that protects against chickenpox. Most kids get the vaccine when they’re little, and it helps their bodies fight the virus if they’re ever exposed to it.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Chickenpox?
If you think you have chickenpox, tell a parent or another adult. They’ll probably want to call a doctor to find out the best way to take care of you. Staying home from school and getting plenty of rest is usually the way to go.