Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster Virus)

Olivia Zelling

Photomicrograph of VZV

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Symptoms

Chickenpox appears after 10-21 of being exposed (usually). It lasts about 5 to 10 days. The symptoms right before the bumps form include a rash, fever, loss of appetite, and tiredness. Once the rash appears, so do the bumps (blisters), and crusts and scabs if these blisters are popped.

Causes

The cause of getting chickenpox is being exposed and in contact with someone who has had it for less than 48 hours. You can also get it from someone with shingles.

Immune Cells Involved in Immune Response

T cells respond to this virus (pathogen) by killing them. This is an adaptive immunity, which explains why you can't have chickenpox twice.

How Virus Replicates

The virus replicates through the lysogenic cycle. Although as stated above, (it usually takes 10 - 21 days) this virus can lay dormant for a long time then suddenly be triggered and give you the shingles. The lysogenic cycle happens by the virus integrating its' genetic material into the host cell, the host replicates and divides as normal, then when triggered it enters the lytic cycle.
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Treatment

There are a few things that you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms. Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths can help relieve some of the itching, keeping fingernails trimmed short may help prevent skin infections caused by scratching blisters, and finally, using non-aspirin medications, such as acetaminophen, to relieve fever from chickenpox. As you can see, there is no medicine that can actually cure you of the virus, just lessen the symptoms.

Prevention

The best way to prevent getting chickenpox is being vaccinated and also just to stay away from people with chickenpox or shingles if you're unvaccinated, especially if you're an adult. Kids usually don't die of chickenpox which is why before there was the vaccine parents made their children play with kids who had chickenpox, so they wouldn't have a chance of getting it as an adult and dying.