How Does Chicken Pox Spread?

Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease that spreads incredibly quickly among children. It is less prevalent among adults, as the body develops a natural immunity to the disease after it has been contracted once thus meaning that most people tend to catch it in childhood and then never again.

However this does not prevent it from being a big problem for many adults and specifically those with children who have to try and prevent the spread of the disease – or in some cases to encourage it and try to give their children the immunity that they will be grateful in later life (it’s worth mentioning that chicken pox is more serious in adults than it is in children).

Chicken Pox Symptoms

The main symptoms of chicken pox are the appearance of many pock marks that give the condition its name (the technical term for chicken pox is varicella zoster virus). This will normally begin as a blistering rash, and then develop into pocks later on. It will begin on the back face or neck and can spread across the entire body.

How Does Chicken Pox Spread?

So that’s an overview of the condition, but how does it spread? The virus is made up of small bacteria which can survive as ‘airborne respiratory droplets’. This then means that if someone is to sneeze or to cough, it can survive in the air long enough that someone else could breathe it in or swallow. At the same time like many conditions it can be passed on through direct skin contact.

The virus is at its most contagious immediately following the point when the pockmarks break open to form open sores. Once the pock marks have ‘crusted over’ the individual is no longer contagious. For pregnant mothers this is more serious, as it can be spread to the foetus where it can cause a range of serious birth defects.

Chicken Pox Treatment

If you contract chicken pox then normally the condition will be self limiting after 10-30 days and the only medication necessary will be an anti-itch cream. However in more serious instances of the virus it will be necessary to use an antiviral medication such as acyclovir.

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