The chicken pox is a viral infection that creates the appearance of blisters that produce very itchy. Before the rash appears there are symptoms such as fever, headache and stomach pain . An average child can have between 250 and 500 blisters, which appear first on the face, scalp or the middle part of the body. They do not usually leave subsequent marks, although it is advisable not to scratch them to avoid generating infections.
The virus that produces it is the same that causes herpes zoster , also called shingles, in adults. However, chickenpox tends to be more common in children, especially those under the age of ten. It is spread very easily, by being in contact with the blisters or through the cough or sneeze of the infected person. One can infect even a day or two before blisters appear and remains contagious until all blisters crust over.
The disease is usually mild in nature, although more complications can occur in an infant, very young children, or adults.
Treatment is based on keeping the patient as comfortable as possible, because antivirals are not usually administered , especially if the patient is a baby or a young child. In any case, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) or ibuprofen should not be administered , as they can cause more serious secondary complications.
Some suggestions to give relief during sick days include the following:
– Avoid scratching. It is advisable to keep the nails very short or, in very young children, put gloves or mittens on them.
– Wear light clothing.
– Avoid humid places and heat.
– Take lukewarm baths and try to keep your skin cool.
CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CHICKENPOX VACCINE
The chickenpox vaccine has been around for a long time, although in our country there have been some recent changes in its administration.
The vaccine will be available for children between 12 and 14 months from January 2016, and when they turn two or three years old, they will receive a booster shot. This measure will take place after the recent agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Autonomous Communities at the meeting of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (SNS).
Until now, according to the vaccination schedule, this vaccine was given to boys and girls at 12 years of age. However, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) has long recommended that this vaccine be administered at an early age, given the higher prevalence in children under 10 years of age. While this old schedule was in effect, the vaccine was available in pharmacies for those who wanted to order it privately. However, the last measure, taken in mid-2013 by the former Minister of Health Ana Mato, had been to withdraw the sale of this vaccine from pharmacies. Families who wanted to get the vaccine had to travel to countries such as France, Andorra or Portugal to get it. In addition, some studies confirmed that since this measure was taken, cases of chickenpox in children had increased.
The controversy is now in shape and it is time to make the current decision to include the vaccine early in the vaccination calendar . Once again, there are differences between the different Autonomous Communities. For example, Madrid, Navarra, Ceuta and Melilla had already been vaccinating any baby against chickenpox. While some Communities debate about this new measure that aims to equalize the entire national territory, pediatricians seem to agree on the benefits of carrying out this decision . Many studies confirm that in countries where this vaccine has been administered for years at an early age, the existence of chickenpox is practically nil, as well as in the Autonomous Communities of Spain that have already been applying the same policy.
IN FAVOR OF THE VACCINE
Another reason for debate is about the long-term phenomena that can occur. It seems that most of the relevant medical organizations in different countries recommend the administration of this vaccine at an early age. In the first place, as we have already said because, according to their studies, with this measure the prevalence of the disease is practically completely eliminated. Also because, although it is true that chickenpox is not usually a serious disease, it can bring severe complications for very young children, adults or pregnant women .
Ultimately, the reason is that this vaccine can prevent the virus in most cases. And it is that, even the defenders of the vaccine recognize that it may not be effective in one hundred percent of the cases, although, if you suffer the disease while being vaccinated, the symptoms would be very mild , with fewer blisters, less fever and a better and more speedy recovery.
Despite the benefits, advocates recommend not getting vaccinated or at least waiting for those who have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine. Nor to people who are ill, even slightly, on the day of vaccination. It is recommended that you be in good health the day you receive the chickenpox vaccine.
It is also not recommended to vaccinate a newborn baby. As for pregnant women, it is forbidden for them to be vaccinated until they give birth, as well as those women who have been vaccinated at least during the last month to become pregnant. The risks to the fetus in the case of chickenpox in the mother can be significant.
THE DETRACTORS OF THE CHICKENPOX VACCINE
On the other side are those who maintain that the chickenpox vaccine carries more risks than benefits. On the one hand, they highlight the risks of suffering an allergic reaction and that, despite being vaccinated, the disease is suffered, as defenders of the vaccine recognize that it can happen. However, their main objection is based on some existing studies that affirm that, although it is true that the vaccine against chickenpox reduces the presence of this disease in children, it increases its prevalence in adults and, in addition, also increases the incidence of varicella. cases of herpes zoster. As we already discussed, both diseases are caused by the same virus.
In any case, it seems that the most recommended option at present is to follow the line of many other countries that have applied the measure for a long time and vaccinate Spanish children at an early age. We will have to wait until next year for the vaccines to begin to be administered.