Yes, there has been a sneaky little outbreak of Varicella Zoster (Chickenpox) in Northern Wisconsin... We are itchy just thinking about it, but NEVER FEAR, your neighborhood medical experts are here! Keep reading to learn more about prevention, signs and symptoms, treatment, and prognosis.
A little side note... if you, like many of us, were subject to chickenpox itself and all those oatmeal baths back in the day, then you will want to read up on shingles HERE. If this applies to you, know that we offer Shingrix, the newest recommended vaccine used in preventing shingles. It is covered by most insurance plans, but we would encourage you to call your insurance company to check!
Besides super itchy and annoying, what is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus called Varicella Zoster. Before the vaccine that protects against chickenpox became available in 1995, it was one of the most common diseases of childhood, affecting almost all children before the age of 9 years.
How can I prevent my child from getting it?
The AAP recommends a first dose of the chickenpox vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age for all healthy youngsters who have never had the disease. A second dose should be given at 4-6 years of age (but may be given earlier, if at least 3 months after the first dose). Until your child reaches his first birthday, the best way to protect him from chickenpox is to keep him away from children with the active disease. Keep in mind that an infant will have immunity during the first few months of life if his mother has had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine at some point in her life.
How do I know if it's Chickenpox?
Most children with chickenpox have relatively mild symptoms. They commonly develop a very itchy, blister-like rash that appears 10 to 21 days after exposure and infection with the virus. The blisters usually appear first on the torso and scalp, often surrounded by a reddened area. They may spread to other parts of the body, including the face, arms, and legs. In time, the blisters become crusty before finally healing. Most children develop a mild fever during the course of the infection.
Ugh... I'm pretty sure it's Chickenpox. What can I do?