Chicken pox is a viral infection which causes the skin to break out in a red rash. That rash is comprised of blisters filled with fluid which you should not pick as you can end up having a scar where the blister once was.
The symptoms of chicken pox include the itchy red rash on the skin with blisters, which usually begins on the face, chest, and back, before spreading to the whole body. It can also spread to your scalp, inside of the mouth and the nose, and on your genitalia. Other symptoms include high fever, stomach pain, overall fatigue, lowered appetite and the lack of energy.
It is easily preventable with a vaccine which is readily available around the world, and it should be administered to the children under 13 years of age to protect them from the illness. Since it is very contagious and an airborne disease, it spreads like wildfire through sneezing, coughing, and any type of close contact with the infected person. If you were unlucky and have been in contact with the person infected with the Varicella-Zoster virus, the symptoms will probably appear between ten and twenty-one days after the contact. Naturally, if you have caught the virus, you would want to know how long will your chicken pox last, so if you want to find out more, keep on reading.
How Long Does Chicken Pox Last in Children?
Children are a part of the population most affected by chicken pox, which may sound scary, but is actually a good thing, since kids deal with chicken pox a lot easier than adults. Usually, chicken pox will last anywhere from seven to ten days.
During this time, you should not send your child to school, and if the blisters have not scabbed in ten days, let them stay at home until they do. However, scabs do not have to fall off, just dry out enough so other children do not come into contact with the fluid inside of them. Your child will probably develop dark spots from the scabs, but they should fade out in about six months to a year.
Chicken Pox in Teenagers
Teenagers are especially sensitive to the appearance of chicken pox as they definitely do not look attractive or pretty. Since teens are not as sensitive to medication as children, treating this disease with them can be easier in a way that you can give them medicine, however, the older a person is, the longer the condition will last. If children need a week or ten days to recover, a teenager will need at least a week and a half, or more.
There are a lot of treatments suitable for teenagers with chicken pox. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can be given to them to relieve the itching, as well as soothing creams and calamine lotion. If your teenager has a mild fever, you can give them ibuprofen (such as Motrin, IBU, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). If, however, they are experiencing high temperature, aches, and headaches, you can give them Paracetamol. Additionally, antiviral medications such as Aciclovir can stop the multiplication of the virus in teenagers.
Chicken Pox in Adults
If you are unlucky enough to catch chicken pox as an adult, it is important to know that this disease is far worse for the adult population than it is for children. In adults, chicken pox causes a risk of developing further health complications such as pneumonia. You are in an even higher risk group if you are pregnant or you have impaired immune system (if you are a smoker, have AIDS, or an auto-immune disease, etc).
Adults who catch chicken pox will need a longer time to mend, at least two weeks. Also, their symptoms will be much worse than those in children. You will experience major headaches, fever, nausea, and a general feeling of being unwell. Also, severe lethargy and extreme fatigue can occur, so make sure to visit the doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms so that he can give you a proper treatment.
If you have a high temperature you can try a simple painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Make sure you do not scratch the blisters as they can get infected and leave a scar. Keep your nails clean and short, and pat the skin instead of scratching. Also, opt for wearing cotton gloves and socks overnight, and shower in cool or lukewarm water. Additionally, wearing loose cotton clothing will help.
You can use a calamine lotion, various cooling gels or moisturizing creams, or an antihistamine (such as chlorpheniramine) to soothe the itching. Drink plenty of fluids, and avoid fizzy, acidic, and sugary drinks.