Can We Eliminate Chicken Pox?

by Abby Nachtman

Chicken Pox (also known as Varicella) was very big in the 1900's. Lots of people got sick and many died. Now a days people get vaccinated and few get the disease but, can it be eliminated?


The rash is a telltale sign of the disease. Other signs before the rash appears are: fever, loss of appetite, headache, tiredness, and just feeling unwell.


When a person becomes infected with Chicken Pox they can spread the disease for 48 hours. To contract the disease a person must come in contact with the rash or the infected persons saliva such as when they sneeze or cough.


Chicken Pox usually lasts ten days. In otherwise healthy children the disease typically requires no treatment but, they can have antihistamines. If the infected person is at higher risk for complications a doctor may suggest an antiviral drug such as acyclovir or immune globulin through an intravenous (I.V.). These drugs lessen the severity of the disease when given within 24 hours of rash. A doctor may suggest getting vaccinated even after exposure to the disease because it helps lessen the severity. DO NOT give infected people medicine with aspirin because it has been associated with Reyes Syndrome.

Home Remidies

An easy solution is simply don't scratch. Scratching can lead to scaring, so to prevent from scratching you can put gloves on hands. This is especially important at night to prevent scratching during sleep. It is also important to keep nails trimed as longer nails will scratch deeper. To relieve itch, take a cool bath in baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal (a finely ground oatmeal made for soaking). Also put Calamine lotion on spots. Wearing cool light cloths and avoiding wool is advised. Also avoid lots of exposer to heat or humidity. If sores form in the mouth a soft, bland diet is best. For itching take an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benedryl, etc.) Check with a doctor to be sure the infected person can take antihistamines. Also take acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) for a mild fever. A child or adult should not return to school or work until sores are crusted over ar dried out.


The best way to not get Chicken Pox is to just get vaccinated. Vaccines protect nearly 90% of young children who receive it. When living with an infected person: disinfect counter tops, tables, chairs, toys, and other surfaces the infected person may have come in contact with. Also wash infected persons clothing and bed sheets.


The vaccine requires two doses. The first dose occurs between twelve and eighteen months old. The second occurs at ages of four to six. If thirteen years and older and never had chickenpox or the vaccine, they should go get vaccinated. In this case get two doses within 28 days of each other. Getting the vaccine is much safer than getting the disease itself. The two doses are 98% effective. Getting them helps prevent chickenpox


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