By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
Published June 6, 2015, Last updated October 21, 2016
Exanthematous diseases are a common occurrence in childhood. Although these are more likely to occur in the young age, they can occur even in adulthood. These exanthematous diseases produce a rash that itches and are often accompanied by fever. Chickenpox is also one such disease.
What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a viral infection that causes rash all over the body. This rash is in the form of itching blisters that occur all over the body. Chickenpox is very contagious. This means that it spreads very fast from one person to another. It is also called Varicella because it is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus. As a response to this virus, the body’s defense system produces antibodies against the virus. These antibodies remain in the human body and provide lifelong protection against the virus. Therefore one is unlikely to have it again in one’s lifetime though this is not impossible.
Usually chickenpox occurs in childhood and is less likely to occur in adults but it is more severe in adults than in children. Most of the cases of chickenpox occur in children below the age of 10. In children, the disease is usually mild. In case the immunity of the child is low, the symptoms can be severe.
Cause of Chickenpox and its spread
Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus, which is from the family of herpes viruses. The same virus causes Herpes Zoster in adults. It spreads through the respiratory tract which includes mucous membranes of the mouth and the nose. It is an airborne disease and spreads through tiny droplets in the air. These droplets containing the virus come from cough or sneeze of an infected person. It can also spread through contact with the blisters of an infected person. A person can spread the virus even before he himself has developed the full fledged infection. This can happen for a day or two prior to developing the rash. The contagious period remains well through the time when the person has rash till the time all the blisters have formed crusts.
There is a prodromal period of about 14-16 days from the infection to the appearance of the symptoms. This means that if someone is infected today, he or she will start getting the symptoms around two weeks after the exposure. One is at a higher risk of getting chickenpox if one has never had it before and also if one has not been vaccinated against it.
Symptoms of Chickenpox
The early symptoms of chickenpox are just like any other viral illness. There is watery discharge from the nose. Malaise or a feeling of discomfort is there. Bodyaches are present. Nausea and headache may also be present. Fever occurs and usually starts a day or so before the characteristic skin symptoms appear.
The characteristic red rash which has blister like eruptions begin on the torso and spread all over the face, limbs and the whole body. The blisters or vesicles may even form in the mouth, on the scalp and even the eyes. At times, the vesicles in the mouth are the first sign of Chickenpox. These blisters are filled with fluid. T
here is intense itching in the eruptions. These eruptions last for a week to ten days. Then crusts or scabs form over the eruptions. Slowly they fade away. The symptoms last for about two weeks.
Prevention of Chickenpox
The most important thing to take care is that one should try to avoid all contact with any infected person. The virus spreads through air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Therefore it is important that one should not be too close to any person who is infected. Any person who is infected should be isolated to the maximum extent possible so that others do not come into contact. Coming into direct contact with the blisters should be strictly avoided. Using or touching clothes or towels of an infected person needs to be completely avoided. The contagious period starts a day or two before a person starts showing the symptoms of the disease and lasts till the eruptions turn into scabs.
Homeopathic Treatment of Chickenpox and preventive Homeopathic medicines
There are many homeopathic remedies which can help in the treatment of chickenpox. As mentioned earlier, this is a viral infection and allopathic medicines are hardly able to treat this. Homeopathic medicines are very effective in the treatment of chickenpox just like they are effective in the treatment of other viral infections. Homeopathic remedies like Antim Crudum, Dulcamara, Rhus Tox and Merc Sol are very effective in the treatment of Chickenpox. Another little known fact is that Homeopathic medicines are also good prophylactics. This means that they can help prevent you from contracting chickenpox.