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About - Chickenpox

An acute contagious disease that usually occurs in children and is caused by the varicella-zoster virus.

Results: 9

Acyclovir can reduce the number of days with fever in otherwise healthy children with chickenpox, but its effect on sores and itching is not yet certain

Chickenpox (varicella) is caused by a virus. It begins with a fever, followed by a rash of red pimples which become itchy sores that form scabs. Chickenpox usually affects children from one to 14 years. In young babies, adults or people with impaired immune system, chickenpox is more severe. Treatments include lotions to relieve itchiness, paracetamol (acetaminophen) for fever and the antiviral drug acyclovir. The review of trials found that acyclovir reduces the number of days of fever from chickenpox in otherwise healthy children, usually without adverse effects. It is not clear whether it improves sores and itching.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

How can you avoid getting chickenpox?

Chickenpox is highly contagious. If you are not immunized and have never had chicken pox, contact with someone who has it will almost always leave you infected. Early vaccination and being careful around those who already have chickenpox are the most important precautions you can take.Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, one of the herpes viruses. The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute recommends being vaccinated to lower your chances of infection. If you or someone in your family gets chickenpox there are several things you can do to avoid getting it yourself.Most importantly, people who have chickenpox should avoid contact with anyone who has not had it and who also may be more likely to develop more severe symptoms. This especially includes people with a weakened immune system, newborn babies, and non-vaccinated adults. The virus can harm the unborn child during pregnancy, and can be life-threatening for newborns. But although chickenpox is very unpleasant, it only rarely has serious consequences for otherwise healthy children.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: June 30, 2014

Post‐exposure prophylaxis vaccine to prevent varicella (chickenpox)

This review assessed how useful the varicella (also known as chickenpox) vaccine is in preventing chickenpox when given to children or adults who have never been immunised or previously had chickenpox, but who receive the vaccine within a short time following exposure to a person infectious with chickenpox. Varicella is a highly contagious viral infection characterised by a widespread pustular rash, fever and generally feeling unwell. We identified three trials involving 110 healthy children who were siblings of household contacts.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Chickenpox: Overview

A very itchy rash with reddish blisters and mild fever are the main symptoms of chickenpox. This contagious viral infection mostly affects children between the ages of two and ten. Here you can find useful information on the symptoms, and read about options for preventing and treating chickenpox.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: June 30, 2014

Varicella and influenza vaccines may reduce morbidity in patients with blood cancers

Viral infections cause significant disease and even death in patients with blood cancers. In the current systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) we aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of viral vaccines in these patients. The pre‐defined primary outcome was incidence of the infection concerned. Secondary outcomes were mortality due to the viral infection, all‐cause mortality, incidence of complications, incidence of severe viral infection, hospitalization rate, in vitro immune response and frequency of adverse effects. Eight RCTs were included. They evaluated heat‐inactivated varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine (two trials), influenza vaccines (five trials) and inactivated poliovirus vaccine (one trial). There were no RCTs on other viral vaccines (hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella). Only the two trials on VZV vaccine reported our pre‐defined primary outcome. All trials reported some of the pre‐defined secondary outcomes. We found that inactivated VZV vaccine might reduce the severity of herpes zoster when given before and after stem cell transplant in adults with lymphoma or leukemia. Inactivated influenza vaccine might reduce upper and lower respiratory infections and hospitalization in adults with multiple myeloma who are undergoing chemotherapy, or children with leukemia or lymphoma within two years post‐chemotherapy. However, the quality of evidence is not high. Local adverse effects occur frequently with the vaccines, although serious adverse effects appear uncommon. Further high‐quality RCTs are needed to clarify the benefits and optimal regimens of viral vaccines for patients with blood cancers.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

Shingles: Overview

Anyone who has already had chicken pox could develop shingles later on in life. Both are caused by the same virus. A weakened immune system, possibly as a result of a cold, or extreme stress can lead to increased susceptibility to this often very painful rash. It usually takes a total of two to four weeks to clear up completely.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 19, 2014

Vaccines for preventing herpes zoster in older adults

The virus responsible for chickenpox, varicella zoster virus (VZV), can remain dormant inside nerve cells. Years later, when a person's immunity declines, for example because of aging, the virus may reactivate and travel through the nerve to the skin surface, producing clusters of blisters distributed along the path of the affected nerve, a condition called herpes zoster or shingles. Itching, numbness, tingling or localised pain precede the appearance of skin lesions. The virus causes inflammation of sensory nerves and can cause severe pain which impacts patients' quality of life. The annual incidence of herpes zoster is currently 5.22 episodes per 1000 older adults. This incidence is increasing, in part due to longer lifespan.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Fever in children: When is it a good idea to go to the doctor?

When children have a fever, the cause is usually a harmless viral infection. Fever in children is only very rarely a sign of a serious illness. But it is important for parents to be able to tell the difference.If a child has a fever, parents may ask themselves the following questions: Is it something serious? Should I call the doctor? Does the fever need to be lowered?Parents are in the best position to judge whether their child is behaving abnormally – for instance reacting differently to them or to a toy. The child may be much less active, feel very unwell or stop drinking. Their judgment and experience are very important, and can also be of help to the pediatrician.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: December 18, 2013

Fever in children: Overview

Nearly all parents will know what it is like to feel concerned when their child has a hot, red face and high temperature. Although most fevers in children are caused by harmless viral infections, it is still important for parents to know how to recognize the signs of a serious illness, and when to see a doctor.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: December 18, 2013

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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