Chickenpox News

Chickenpox is the common term for a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes an unpleasant infection that’s most commonly known for the blister-like rash that covers the body. It’s also accompanied by itching, fever and fatigue.

In healthy children, chickenpox lasts for five to 10 days and then begins to go away on its own. However, it can be dangerous in people with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and infants. In the past, chickenpox would cause millions of infections and more than 10,000 hospitalizations every year, but a vaccine for the disease has changed the current situation for chickenpox in childhood.

Chickenpox Characteristics

Though it’s often not a serious disease, one of the most interesting aspects of chickenpox is how highly contagious it is. If you’ve never had chickenpox, simply being around another person with chickenpox while they’re coughing, sneezing, breathing or touching you is enough to pass along the disease.

A person with chickenpox can even spread the disease one or two days before the spots appear, and they can continue to spread it until after scabs have formed on all the blisters. People with an active shingles infection, which is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, can also give chickenpox to someone who has not had it. If there’s any good news about this easy transmission, it’s that you are usually immune for life once you’ve had chickenpox.

Prevention and Treatment of Chickenpox

Far and away the best method of prevention is to get the chickenpox vaccine, or ask a health care provider about the vaccine for your child. It is usually administered in two doses. Almost no one who receives the vaccine gets chickenpox. And in the rare instance that it does occur, the symptoms are generally mild.

Most children with chickenpox can be treated with at-home therapies. Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths can help soothe the skin, and acetaminophen can help relieve pain. Keep a careful eye on symptoms and contact a doctor immediately if you notice a high fever or a fever that lasts more than four days, blisters that are larger, more red or oozing pus or other alarming symptoms such as vomiting, severe cough or difficulty breathing.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Date Posted
Article Title
Chickenpox Vaccine and Shingles Risk

Chickenpox vaccine protects children against more than the chickenpox.

Health Tip: Identifying Chicken Pox

Virus may spread to unvaccinated babies, toddlers and adults

Is Shingles Tied to Heart, Stroke Risk?

More research is needed, but doctors should warn patients, researchers say

Experimental Shingles Vaccine Looks Quite Effective: Study

Found to protect about 90 percent of adults age 70 and up

Chickenpox Cases Down 85 Percent Since 2-Dose Vaccine Started: CDC

Kids 5 to 14 had the biggest drop in illness

Two-Dose Chickenpox Shot Gets the Job Done, Study Shows

Adding second shot at ages 4 to 6 is almost 100 percent effective

Health Tip: Chickenpox Can Be Dangerous

Especially for the young and elderly

Chickenpox, Shingles Vaccines Linked to Rare Eye Inflammation

But study doesn't prove cause-and-effect

Asthma May Be Linked to Shingles Risk

Chances of getting painful skin condition 70 percent higher among people with respiratory condition, study finds

Shingles Linked to Raised Heart Risks for Seniors, Study Finds

Chance of stroke, heart attack increased most in the first week after diagnosis of the painful rash

Health Tip: Coping With Chickenpox

Easing itch and discomfort

Vaccine Sharply Curbs Chickenpox Cases in U.S.

Recommendation for second dose reduced number of infections even more, CDC finds

Study Ties Shingles Virus to Dangerous Blood Vessel Disease in Elderly

Condition causes inflamed vessels in scalp, neck and arms, and can be deadly, researchers say

Most States Not Ready to Handle Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Report

Ebola, mumps, other illnesses suggest public health systems need strengthening, researchers say

'Kids' Diseases' Now Hitting Adults

Doctors explain reasons behind surge in cases of chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough and the like

Combo Vaccine Raises Risk of Fever-Related Seizures in Toddlers: Study

Safer to give MMR and chickenpox shots separately for first dose, researchers say

Stroke Risk Spikes Shortly After Shingles Episode: Study

But getting antiviral meds to treat painful rash lowers chances of brain attack, researchers add

Infections Like Colds, Chickenpox Tied to Some Stroke Risk in Kids

The brain attacks are rare in children, experts note, and study found vaccines may offer some protection

Chickenpox Vaccine Not Responsible for Rise in Shingles, Study Says

39 percent increase over 18 years remains unexplained

Childhood Vaccines Have Prevented 100 Million Infections in U.S.: Study

26 million infections averted in past decade alone, says study

Second Dose of Vaccine Cuts Chickenpox Cases Even More, Study Finds

Kids and adults benefit from children receiving both recommended immunizations, researcher says

Scientists Say Pressure Allows Herpes Viruses to Infect Cells

New ability to measure that pressure may help lead to treatments, study authors suggest

Health Tip: Chickenpox May Lead to Complications

Including pneumonia and chronic inflammation

Teen's Death From Chickenpox Highlights Need for Vaccination, CDC Reports

Prior inoculation probably would have protected her, experts say

Few U.S. Seniors Take Advantage of Shingles Vaccine

Large study found shot effective but only 4 percent of older adults receive it

Chickenpox Shot Provides Long-Term Protection, Study Finds

Effectiveness did not wane over 14 years

Study Finds Nearly Half of U.S. Kids Are Under-Vaccinated

This puts them at much higher risk for preventable illnesses such as whooping cough, chickenpox

How to Tell If Your Child Is Too Sick for School: Expert

If kids aren't well enough to learn, it's best to keep them home

Varizig Approved to Treat Chickenpox Symptoms

Within four days of exposure

Health Tip: Some Shouldn't Get a Chickenpox Vaccine

Including those who've had a prior reaction

More Kids Opting Out of School-Required Vaccinations: Study

Parents more likely to have requirements waived in states with easy or philosophical exemption policies

Vaccinations Belong on Parents' Back-to-School Checklists

Preventable diseases can threaten children's lives, expert warns

Chickenpox Cases Fall 80% Over Decade: CDC

Two-dose schedule will deliver further improvement, experts say

Shots Should Be on College Kids' Back-to-School List

Dorm living puts them at higher risk for potentially deadly infection, expert says

Little Short-Term Risk of Repeat Bout of Shingles, Study Finds

Seniors were unlikely to have recurrence of painful skin condition, researchers found

Measles Vaccines Won't Raise Seizure Risk in Young Kids: Study

Kaiser Permanente researchers find youngsters aged 4 to 6 not at higher risk after shots

Chickenpox Vaccine May Wipe Out Related Deaths: Study

U.S. mortality rate dropped from about 105 to just 14 in 2007, research shows

Shingles Returns More Often Than Thought

But study still finds recurrence rate low, slightly more than 5%

Shingles Vaccine Looks Like a Safe Bet for Seniors: Study

Although not perfect, the shot will protect many older folks, researchers say

Chickenpox Vaccine Cuts Hospitalization Rates: Study

Immunization program reduces illness and disease-related costs, researchers say

Shot Protects Against Chickenpox After Exposure

Vaccination within 5 days prevents or lessens illness in those at risk, study finds