In years past it was quite common for nearly all children to get chickenpox at some point during their children. Today however this occurrence has dramatically decreased due to the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox is cause by a virus known as varicella zoster and the vaccine for chickenpox is appropriately named the varicella vaccine. This vaccine has prevented huge numbers of children from contracting chickenpox and dealing with the many complications that this virus can cause.
For most children chickenpox is a mild occurrence that presents few if any lasting health concerns. For other children however this condition can become severe and cause serious risks to the health of the child. Unfortunately there is no way to know just which children will face a severe case of chickenpox and which ones will not. It is for this reason the varicella vaccine was created to prevent as many children as possible from developing chickenpox.
There are many symptoms that may accompany chickenpox and indicate that a child has been infected with the varicella zoster virus. The most common signs and symptoms of chickenpox include the following:
Loss of appetite
Rash that resembles insect bites usually in the area of the face, neck, back and chest
Blisters that become crusted after rupture
These are the most common symptoms of chickenpox and generally present no serious concerns for most children. If your child experiences an extreme case of chickenpox or complications from this virus you should contact your health care provider for further evaluation of the condition.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus and can be spread both by contact with the rash of an infected person or by being in close proximity to the cough or sneeze of an infected person. Some individuals are at a higher risk of contracting chickenpox however others may have little or no risk of this. Those who are at a higher risk of developing chickenpox include the following:
Those who have never had chickenpox
Those who have not been vaccinated against chickenpox
Those who live or work in close proximity with children such as in schools or child care facilities
In general if you have received the varicella vaccine you have developed immunity to the varicella zoster virus. The same is true if you have had chickenpox at some point during your life. There are certain groups of people who are at an increased risk for developing chickenpox. These increased risk individuals include the following people:
Women who are pregnant
Babies whose mother never had chickenpox or never received the varicella vaccine
People with eczema
Those who take steroids for other health issues
Those who have an impaired immune system
While chickenpox is a generally mild condition it can present problems for anyone in these high risk groups.