Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This virus often attacks the children, and it is often noticed by the blisters that are red and very itchy. The blisters are seen throughout the body. In the past, it was very common to have chickenpox when one was young. This unlike today, since the chickenpox vaccine was introduced. When chickenpox attacks people, a fever is observed with an overall discomfort caused by feeling sick, the itchy skin, having rashes, and sometimes ulcers may develop in the mouth and the birth canal.
It is not necessary that the parents of the children with chickenpox would also get the condition, but, since chickenpox is such a contagious condition, it is appropriate to take the necessary precautions. One should understand that if he or she gets chickenpox an any point of life, then the infection or the virus would never leave the body, i.e. the virus would stay in the dormant (inactive) state within the body. Therefore, there are chances that the parent of the child with chicken pox already had that condition in his or her childhood, and the virus is still present in the body.
Those parents with previous exposure to the virus should be aware that a recent exposure to the active form of the virus might not cause the outbreak of condition, simply because of what is called the immune system of the body. The immune system already had a previous encounter with the virus; thus, when it encounters the active virus again, there will be a release of a large number of antibodies for attacking the virus. This is because the immune system has a memory that recognizes all the viruses it encounters, and that is the principle lying behind the procedure of vaccination. However, if the immune system of the parents is not working properly or has been weakened due to some illness, it can have the outbreak of chickenpox upon coming in contact with the virus, because the immune system is not strong enough to fight against the infection.
Also, the parents who did not have any history of chickenpox need to be extra cautious, because they are more prone to catching the virus and getting an outbreak from their children. One can catch the chickenpox from being in contact with the contaminated objects and surfaces or by touching the blisters of the chickenpox-infected individual. The condition is most contagious when the blisters burst out and open, releasing some fluid that contains the virus. Parents need to be extra cautious at this time.
Being an airborne disease, chickenpox is easily transferred from one person to another through sneezing and coughing, because the saliva and the mucus of the infected individual carries the chickenpox virus. An infected person can spread the disease once the rash has appeared on the skin. Varicella takes a week to three weeks to be seen in an individual.
Chickenpox is known to be very infectious, and it affects approximately 90% of the people, including both those who got immunized and those who never did. It can recur in the later years of an individual. Sometimes even the droplets from a cough when they land on the ground can lead to one getting the disease. Touching the clothing of an individual that is infected can also get one infected. Being in a room with an infected person can lead to one acquiring the disease, as well. The disease is known to be very serious when it leads to difficulties in breathing in a person, some pain in the chest, and muscle aching. Sometimes one can have serious muscle aching and have acute nausea.
Varicella zoster is the virus that causes the chickenpox virus. It is known to be one of the herpes viruses that infect humans. This virus stays in the lungs in most cases. This virus later stays in the nerves after getting infected for the first time. It may be stored in the dorsal root ganglia and the cranial ganglia. This virus, once it affects one and leads to the development of the chickenpox, leads later to other diseases, like viral pneumonia, viral bronchitis, and encephalitis. Even after one has received medication and the disease has seized, this disease still stays in the stays in the nervous system of the body.
When the virus stays in the body for long, it results in shingles and herpes zoster. This virus can also damage the central nervous system. Other infections that can result from the virus include mollaret meningitis, zoster complex, and the post herpetic neuralgia. This virus can also damage the geniculate ganglion, making up blisters that follow the face structure. This virus that causes chickenpox is associated with the virus causing the herpes disease. The covering of the virus is the envelope containing the glycoproteins. There exist five types of viruses that cause the disease. These include the American type, the Asian type, the Japanese type, and the Indian type. This virus can be treated with acyclovir, famciclovir, valaciclovir, and vidarabine.
Varivax is the vaccine that is administered to the children to protect them against the chickenpox virus. This vaccine was introduced in the 1970s. The herpes zoster vaccine is used to boost the immunity of one against the disease. This virus was discovered together with the appearance of the lesions on people's skin in 1974, when the vaccine was first tested before it was allowed to be administered worldwide.
Most of the doctors suggest the parents not to go near the children with the condition, simply because it is not appropriate to take the risk, even if the parents had the condition in their early childhood. The best way to protect oneself is to always wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, while handling the children. Sometimes isolating the children can be bad for them, so the parents need to take care of the children while taking all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.