Chickenpox is a contagious disease that strikes around four million individuals in the U.S. every year. Chickenpox is transmitted by air from one person to another. This means that a person does not have to come in contact with another individual in order to contract the disease. In some instances chickenpox can result in a trip to the hospital or even death. A hospitalisation may be needed as the lesions are prone to develop infections from exposure to streptococcus. The main symptoms of chickenpox are small spots or bumps on the body that cause itching. Other effects of the illness include balance trouble, pneumonia and swelling in the brain. These complications can prolong the illness.
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Children vs. Adults
The illness in children typically lasts between four and seven days, with the lesions popping up through day five. The spots scab over and are normally no longer itching a few days after scabbing. Even though the itching is gone after about a week, the scabs left behind can stay on the body for up to about 20 days. In adults the disease is more severe and can last several days longer.
Even though the symptoms last for little more than a week, the individual normally has had the illness for much longer in his body before symptoms appear. Generally a person has the chickenpox for about two or three weeks before spots start to even show up. During this period, the person is spreading the illness without even knowing it. Starting a few days before the spots show on the body, the patient is contagious. For several weeks prior to the outbreak of spots, the infected person is normally irritable and tired.
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