What is chicken pox?

          Chicken Pox is a contagious disease that mostly affects children generally in the age group of two to six years. Adults rarely get affected by it. This disease usually occurs in epidemics.

          Chicken pox is caused by a virus, an organism too small to be seen under an ordinary microscope. It spreads easily as the virus can be carried by moisture in the air. It is transmitted by direct contact. 

          When a child gets infected with chicken pox small red spots appear on his skin. These red eruptions look like blisters and are filled with a clear fluid. There are practically no premonitory symptoms, though slight fevers for about 24 hours may precede the eruptions. Blisters keep on appearing for the first three days. However after 36 hours of the first ones having appeared, they start becoming opalescent. So by the end of three days, they can be seen in various stages of growth and decay. The blisters are more marked on the covered areas of the body, but also occur on face, limbs and on the mucus membrane of the mouth. 

          When the blisters are filled with fluid, the disease can be spread most easily because the virus particles are in the fluid. If the blister is scratched, it releases the virus and can infect other children.

          During this disease, the patient does not feel too sick. The temperature rarely goes above 39°C (102°F). However, sometimes he may feel tired and lose his appetite.

          Chicken pox does not last for very long. After four or five days, the blisters dry up and small scabs are formed. These scabs should not be scratched as they may become ulcerated.