Varicella zoster is the virus that causes chickenpox in children, and shingles (herpes zoster), or occasionally postherpetic neuralgia in adults. This virus is closely related to herpes simplex, which is the virus that causes cold sores. Like herpes simplex, once a person has suffered from varicella zoster, the virus remains dormant in the body. Luckily, it is usually simple to get rid of the illnesses caused by this virus, and also to kill any virus particles that may remain on surfaces due to contact with an infected person.
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Things you need
Ask your doctor about the varicella zoster vaccine, available in the United States since 1995.
Consider the pros and cons of the vaccine. There are fewer hospitalisation and deaths resulting from the varicella virus since the vaccine was introduced, but the immunity is short-lived, perhaps ten years which creates the potential for the vaccinated to suffer a more serious shingles outbreak as an adult rather then the relatively gentle chickenpox as a child.
Get your child vaccinated, if you have decided it is in his best interest to do so.
Take your child to the doctor to get a diagnosis.
Ask your doctor if the case is serious enough to warrant antiviral medications.
Fill any prescriptions as directed and follow directions for taking the antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs help the body get rid of varicella faster, as they limit the virus' ability to reproduce.
Purchase a disinfectant that is effective against varicella. Lysol disinfectant spray is effective because of its high concentration of ethanol, and Clorox products are effective because sodium hypochlorite is effective at killing the varicella virus.
Cleanse thoroughly with disinfectant all surfaces in the home that are frequently touched, whether you have reason to believe the infected person has touched the surface or not, as the varicella virus can travel through the air.
Continue to cleanse these areas several times a day for two weeks after the infected person first shows symptoms, as it is uncertain how long an infected person continues to shed virus particles.
Tips and warnings
- Always follow your doctor's directions for recovering from illness and getting rid of a virus.
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