One of the most common infectious disease in the UAE, Chickenpox is a viral disease, caused by the Varicella virus causing itchy red blisters/spots all over the body. The condition is contagious in nature and can spread from person to person through a cough, saliva, contact with an infected person and sneezing. It causes itchy rashes and spots all over the body in addition to flu-like symptoms. Chickenpox is an extremely common disease that most people are aware of, this is also a reason why there are many myths and misconceptions about it.
- Despite its commonality, one of the most common myths about chicken pox is that once an individual contracts chicken pox, they become immune to the condition.
This is true in most cases and most often people who have had the disease once, do not contract it again. This is because when an individual contracts chickenpox, the body develops antibodies called immunoglobulins that fight off the chickenpox virus later in life. In some cases, however, individuals do not produce antibodies to such a protective level and may contract the disease again.
- Another frequently misunderstood thought is that chicken pox is a condition that is harmless when caused in childhood. Moreover, it is also considered that children should be exposed to chicken pox in early childhood in order to avoid complications during adulthood.
This is not true at all, because what people fail to realize is that adults are as likely to develop chickenpox as are children and the chances of developing the condition increase with age. Also, younger children whose immune system isn’t fully developed when they develop chickenpox, become susceptible to many other complex conditions like pneumonia and respiratory disorders. Chickenpox in adults can also be very severe.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes symptoms like fever, sore throat, cough, stomachache, headache etc. The appearance of rashes or sudden spots on the body coupled with the aforementioned symptoms marks the start of chicken pox. In most cases, an estimated 90% of the cases occur in children below 10 years of age.
Chickenpox is preventable to a large extent and is also curable provided the necessary measures are taken at the right time. The major reason for the spread of the disease is because children/ adults are not vaccinated against the disease. A single shot of the vaccination reduces your chances of developing the condition by 90%. These days, people often wait until they get the infection naturally. It is always advisable to consult a physician who can advise you about your susceptibility to the condition and can provide you with the right kind of information about vaccinations. With the summer season at its peak in the UAE, it is most likely for children and adults to develop the conditions, given its seasonal nature, a single shot of the vaccination can save you from developing many severe complications. As the saying goes ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure’, taking the necessary preventive measure by getting yourself vaccinated against chickenpox greatly reduces your chances of developing the condition and its associated risks.
Internal Medicine Specialist
Aster Clinic, Tecom (Barsha Heights)