A chicken pox virus infection is different than a bacterial infection. The name of the virus that causes chicken pox is varicella-zoster. Though the pox can become infected with bacteria, it is a different type of infection than the viral infection that causes the chicken pox.
Viruses can often be prevented with vaccines, but not without risks and this is true of the vaccine for this illness, also. With modern medical technology and treatment, it may be less risky to get a virus and let it run its course than to get a vaccine.
People with a compromised immune system should avoid becoming infected with chicken pox or any other type of viral or bacterial infection.
Viruses can be found on all organisms, but the chicken pox virus can only be found on humans. Viruses are only able to replicate (reproduce) inside the cell of another organism. The varicella-zoster virus is a highly contagious virus that is spread in the following ways:
Washing hands with soap and water when in contact with an infected person or surface can prevent chicken pox. It can also be prevented with a strong immune system, developing immunity, and immunizations. Many people develop immunity to this virus through everyday contact with people.
Even though a virus causes chicken pox, a person who has it can get a bacterial infection because the pox can become infected. This complication can be reduced by not scratching at the pox. A bacterial infection can be caused from itching the pox and the bacteria on the skin, hands, or nails entering the body through the open blister. It can also be caused by the open chicken pox blister coming in contact with bacteria from another person, like a caregiver, or from an infected surface.
The most serious type of bacterial infection is MRSA, which is a staph infection that is resistant to treatment for many types of antibiotics.
Treating the symptoms while the virus runs its course is how chicken pox is treated in children and adults. When there is a risk of complications a physician will monitor the infection more closely and possibly prescribe medications. For people at high risk there are oral antiviral medications that can shorten the duration of the infection and reduce the risks of a chicken pox infection. These are some of the medications that are administered:
The vaccine has been successful in reducing the number of cases of this infection, but there are side effects and it is linked to shingles later in life. Preventing chicken pox spreading is the best way to avoid an infection.
One of the best ways to prevent transmission of chicken pox and other types of infection is keeping hands washed with soap and water. Keeping the pox covered when the blisters break will also keep the virus from spreading. Keeping linen, clothing, towels, and anything else the person comes in contact with will be important.
Chicken pox is a common childhood disease that usually runs its course without complications.
Learn about Chicken Pox Vaccine.