The varicella-zoster virus, one of
the herpes viruses, causes
chickenpox infection. The same virus that causes
chickenpox also causes
How it is spread
The chickenpox virus can spread
easily from one person to another. It most often spreads through the
respiratory tract, such as mucous membranes of the mouth and nose. You also can
get chickenpox through the air, from an infected person's sneezing or coughing.
Less often, chickenpox is spread when fluid from a chickenpox blister gets on
your skin. Chickenpox is most contagious from 2 to 3 days before the rash
develops until all the blisters have crusted over.
Chickenpox is extremely contagious. Keep your child home until all of the blisters are dry and scabs have fallen off.
Most cases of chickenpox require little or no treatment beyond treating the symptoms.
The prescription drug Zovirax (acyclovir) is helpful in shortening the duration of chickenpox symptoms if given within a day of their appearance. Most experts agree that this drug and those like it should be used for children with chickenpox infections that involve the lungs and/or brain. For less...