What is Chicken Pox?
You wake up one day having a cold, cough and runny nose. You haven’t been feeling well the next few days and then the next morning you look at yourself in the mirror and see rashes on your face, on your chest, feet and the next few days they start to appear all over your body. Yes, you’re not mistaken, it’s Chicken Pox.
Chicken Pox, or also known as varicella, is caused by a virus called varicella zoster. It is a highly contagious disease commonly seen in children from 5 – 10 years old in regions of moderate climate and is in its peak incidence from the months March to May. People who get this kind of disease are characterized by rashes that look like blisters in variety of sizes.
Not to worry, it is not a deadly disease like AIDS or cancer; however, one may feel very itchy and uncomfortable during the period. In addition, it may also affect sufferer’s self-esteem as chicken pox is a contagious disease, making most people steer clear of people with such condition.
Sufferers may feel at peace after they get better, for lifelong immunity of chicken pox follows the disease. The virus is then totally cleared in the immunity system, and if not; a condition called shingles represents the release of the remaining virus characterized by a painful rash. This condition is commonly found in adults.
Causes and Symptoms
Cause of chicken pox is mainly because of varicella-zoster virus (VZV). About 90% of non-immune people with direct exposure to sufferers are most likely to catch the virus. VZV is communicable by both respiratory droplets (i.e. coughing, sneezing) and direct skin contact. Symptoms of chicken pox may appear as early as 10 to 21 days after exposure and onset of disease from 12 to 14 days.
Symptoms of chicken pox in children a re characterized by one to two days of fever, malaise and sore throat after 2 weeks of exposure to the virus. After 24 hours, rashes will start to appear from the torso and will spread to the arms and feet after 10 days. The rash will transform into a red papule to a blister. Lesions will form over the skin. Once there are no more new lesions developing, the person is no longer considered contagious but the lesions may cause permanent scarring.
While chicken pox is only considered a mild disease for children, only 25% of adults are most likely to have this disease and are more prone for complications. Complications from chicken pox include skin infection, pneumonia, neurologic complications, Reye syndrome, hepatitis, kidney disease and inflammation of the testes.
Chicken pox is a fairly serious illness, which at some point, is affected by diet. Therefore, diet appropriate for the condition must be observed and certain foods must be avoided to steer clear of chicken pox.
Foods high in saturated fat should be avoided when having chicken pox. Some of these include meat, dry coconut, butter, dark chocolate, fish oil, nuts and cheese. Foods that are high in saturated fat can cause inflammation, making the rash worse and slower to heal according to the book “What to Eat for What Ails You”. Sufferers of chicken pox often eat frozen foods such as ice cream, specifically low-fat ice cream, shakes, cold yogurt and popsicles as they are consumed easily and soothing in the throat.
Orals lesions can sometimes be found when having chicken pox. If experiencing such condition, watch out for what you eat. Specifically, spicy foods should be avoided to prevent further inflammation. They also cause much irritation and discomfort. Even spicy broth, those with peppers and spicy seasoning, must be avoided.
Like spicy foods, salty foods may also irritate and sore the mouth when there are oral lesions during chicken pox. Avoid salty foods like salty chicken broth and vegetable-blend juices. When craving for something warm or hot, prefer vegetable-broth low in sodium rather than chicken or beef broth. They will less likely irritate blisters in your mouth.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid. The body can produce the right amount of arginine it needs, although sometimes additional supplementation is needed. It is mostly found in foods containing protein. As it is found in foods containing protein, arginine also triggers the body to produce protein. Though studies suggest that arginine could benefit many conditions such as atherosclerosis, chest pain and heart diseases, some studies also relate arginine to death in certain heart patients.
Side effects of arginine stretch out to conditions such as chicken pox. As an amino acid, arginine helps in reproducing the virus. As the virus reproduces, a more serious and long lasting case of chicken pox develops than what one must have originally had. More blisters appear and longer the condition remains. Healing and recovery also takes more time. Arginine-rich foods that should be avoided include peanuts, walnuts, chocolate, tree nuts, peanut butter, seeds and raisins.
Chicken pox commonly appears in children, and giving them fruit juices will make them less likely to refuse it. They are not only great nutrient sources, their high fluid content also keeps the child hydrated. Best home remedy juices to ease chicken pox include juices of soft fruits like raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb and blackberries. Lemon juice is one of the best juices for chicken pox however, if mouth sores are present, lemon juice must not be consumed.
Soft and bland foods must be taken for oral lesions. Food that is not too hot, too salty or too sour. This is why citrus fruits and juices must be avoided for its high acid content can greatly irritate sores in the mouth, causing much pain and discomfort. Oral lesions will also take slower to heal. Other citrus juices are orange, lime, mandarin, tangerine and grapefruit. Foods containing citric acid should be shunned as well as they give the same effect.
Medications are prescribed by the doctor in order to relieve the pain and itching of the body like antibiotics, antiviral agents and acetaminophen. However, remember that prevention is always better than cure, and before you experience that itch and discomfort that chicken pox could give, make sure to get a shot of chicken pox vaccine before it’s too late.