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Varicella Questions

What is Varicella?

Varicella zoster virus is a highly contagious airborne disease that causes chicken pox. This infection can start as vesicular skin rash on the head and body. However, this rash can become raw and itchy pockmarks. The pockmarks can heal without leaving any scars. The individual may find lesions at different stages of healing. There may also be ulcers on the tonsil area and in the oral cavity. This infection can spread through sneezing, coughing or through direct contact with secretions from the rash. Someone can be contagious within two days before the rash has developed. Individuals may also continue being contagio9us until all lesions have crusted over which could take up to 6 days. Immunocompromised individuals can continue to be contagious the entire period because new lesions can appear. When someone is showing signs of this condition, questions regarding the treatments and complications can occur. Read below to find commonly asked questions that have been answered by Experts.

Would an individual that is protected against varicella be at risk of a shingles infection?

If someone is protected against varicella, there can be a chance the virus could become active. Shingles is a re-activation of the varicella virus. This virus is in the herpes family and the re-activation can occur for all types of herpes viruses. A medical practitioner may often recommend that individuals get the shingles virus.

How serious would varicella in the eyes be considered?

It is potentially serious when varicella occurs in the area of the eyes. If not treated immediately, the infection could cause corneal damage and possibly a loss of vision. Eye drops may be prescribed along with antiviral medications, if there are ulcers in the eyes. The virus can travel along one nerve root such as the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve that supplies the eyes. An individual may experience neck pain if a cervical nerve root is involved.

What does varicella positive imply?

Chicken pox and shingles are caused by varicella. When an individual is originally exposed to the virus, chicken pox can develop. The initial infection typically occurs during childhood. Following the initial infection, the virus can lay dormant in the sensory nerve roots for life. The virus can cause shingles if the virus is reactivated. Shingles can appear as a painful rash that may be accompanied by spinal cord weakness or disease. Reactivation of the virus can be caused by a compromised immune system. Also medications, illness, malnutrition and a natural decline in the immune system could also cause the virus to re-activate. Varicella positive can indicate a test for the virus that can show that the virus is present in the body.

What is the purpose of the varicella vaccine?

The purpose of the varicella vaccine is to help prevent an individual from becoming infected with chicken pox. The dose for the shingles virus is different. The vaccine is a live attenuated virus. This means that although the virus is still alive, it cannot cause an infection in individuals with a fully functioning immune system. However, the immune system can still be stimulated by the virus. In 1995, the virus was approved for use in the United States. A medical practitioner may recommend that an adult receive the vaccine if there is no established immunity. The virus could become a severe infection for adults. Side effects could occur as a result of the vaccine.

Varicella is a virus that causes chicken pox and could even lead to shingles. Even with immunity to varicella, shingles could still develop. In the case the virus does occur in the eyes, blindness can occur. However, a vaccine can help prevent this infection. When someone shows signs of varicella, questions and concerns can arise. For more information or answers, individuals can contact an Expert.
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