Boys and girls sometimes wake up with a fever, headache, and sick feeling. Then, little red bumps pop up on their faces, scalps, and bodies. Everyone knows what this means: chicken pox!
Soon, the little bumps turn into horribly itchy blisters. If the kids scratch the blisters, the blisters can get infected. An infected blister could leave a scar. Next, the blisters break open and form scabs. The scabs fall off in about two weeks. Chicken pox is no fun. Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease caused by the initial infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV)Chickenpox used to be common in kids, causing a very itchy red rash all over the body. But the good news is that a vaccine can prevent most cases. Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Most cases are in children under age 15, but older children and adults can get it .

A kind of germ called a virus causes chicken pox. Viruses are so tiny that you can only see them under special, powerful microscopes. There are no drugs that can cure chicken pox. Antibiotics do not kill chicken pox viruses. Antibiotics do not work on any kind of virus.
Doctors tell kids with chicken pox to stay in bed. Warm baths and lotions are good for helping the itching. Kids with chicken pox should not take aspirin. Aspirin can cause another disease called Reye’s Syndrome in kids with chicken pox.

You can get vaccinated against chicken pox. Vaccines get your body ready to fight off germs. You probably will not get chicken pox if you have been vaccinated against the virus. The vaccine is usually given to babies when they are about one year old, so you may have already gotten the shot!
The chicken pox vaccine helps your body learn what the chicken pox virus is like. When the chicken pox virus comes around after you’ve been vaccinated, your body will kill the virus right away. You will not get sick. The body’s ability to resist a disease is called immunity. Doctors are not sure how long the immunity will last. You might need to get a booster shot one day.

Chicken pox is a contagious disease. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can catch chicken pox from someone who has the disease. Chicken pox germs spread in coughs and sneezes. You can also catch chicken pox from touching someone’s chicken pox blister.
You would not know right away that you had chicken pox. The germs can live in a body for two weeks before causing sickness. This time is called the incubation period.
People with chicken pox can give it to someone else, starting about two days after they begin to feel sick. Chicken pox is “catching” until scabs form on all the blisters. It takes about a week for scabs to form. Kids sick with chicken pox are kept away from others during this time. They do not go to school.

Grown-ups can catch chicken pox. They can catch the disease if they did not have it when they were children and if they were not vaccinated. Grown-ups with chicken pox get much sicker than kids do.
Grown-ups who had chicken pox as kids cannot catch it again. Their bodies recognize the chicken pox virus and kill it right away. They have lifetime immunity from chicken pox.

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