Chickenpox is a contagious disease caused by varicella-zoster virus. It leads to a skin rash that is itchy and after a few days transforms into blisters.
Chickenpox virus is transmitted by air and reaches a healthy organism by mouth or by nose. If an infected person coughs or sneezes and the small particles of saliva reaches a healthy person the virus will get into the lungs and then into the blood stream.
If a person has had chickenpox the chances for it to develop this disease again are quite small. Chickenpox is very contagious and generally 90% of those who live close to the infected person will catch the virus if they are not immunized against it. It seems that chickenpox occurs more often during later winter and early spring moths.
Due to the vaccination campaign started in 1995 the number of cases of chickenpox has decreased. Before this vaccine was invented a lot of children developed complications or even died of this illness.
Generally chickenpox does not cause complications and health well, but in 1% of the cases lung infections, encephalitis or liver affections can occur. Skin infections are also possible to appear.
Once a person developed chickenpox the virus will hide in the nervous cells and will rest for some years. If during the lifetime that person will have immune system problems the virus will wake up (reactivate) and will cause another disease called shingles. This is a painful disease that affects the face and trunk nerves and also causes a rash to appear.
The reasons for the immune system to weaken are other serious diseases that attack the human organism. These diseases are: AIDS, cancer, and diabetes. Even some treatments can weaken the immune system: the immunosuppressive drugs.
The symptoms of chickenpox are: fever, itchy, red bumps that transform into round blisters with a red base. These symptoms generally occur after 10 to 20 days from virus contact. These blisters will form a crust and will eventually dry. It is important to let these blisters dry because if you break them they might leave some anesthetically sings on the skin.
Diagnosing is made easily. The doctor can do that if knowing whether you have been vaccinated for chickenpox or not, or if you have ever had chickenpox before. He will also take a look at the rash and will want to know if you have been into close contact with a person that has chickenpox. If the doctor still has doubts regarding your affection he will order some blood tests (ELISA and FAMA) but they are rarely ordered because doctors usually recognize chickenpox easily.