What is Varicella?

Varicella, commonly known as chickenpox, is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is characterized by itchy, red bumps that cover the entire body, accompanied by fever, chills, and malaise. Varicella is most common in young children, but can occur in adults. In many cases, the illness can be managed with home remedies. In more severe cases, complications may require medical treatment.

Symptoms of Varicella

The most common symptoms of varicella include:

  • Itchy red bumps that form scabs over time
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stiff neck and headache

Prevention and Treatment

Varicella can be prevented by getting vaccinated. The vaccination, which is usually given to children between the ages of 12 and 15 months, is effective in preventing the spread of the disease. However, if a person has been exposed to the virus, antiviral medications, such as acyclovir and valacyclovir, can help reduce the severity of symptoms.

Treatment for varicella is mostly supportive. Home remedies and medications can help ease itching and reduce fever. These remedies include cool baths, calamine lotion, and ibuprofen. Anti-itch creams are also available, as well as antiviral medications for more severe cases. For those at high risk of complications from varicella, such as pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, or those with weakened immune systems, doctors may suggest a high-dose antiviral treatment.