Chickenpox alert in eight districts

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Cases of chickenpox have been reported in a number of districts with the arrival of summer.

The Health Department has issued an advisory with the contagious infection reported in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, and Kozhikode.

Initial symptoms include fever, body ache, exhaustion, and backache. This is followed by the appearance of the chickenpox rash on the body. In some cases, the fluid-filled blisters can also break out in the mouth and the throat. Chickenpox can cause complications in people with low immunity, in rare cases in children and people under treatment for other diseases, the department said in a statement on Friday.

Once infected, patients should take care not to scratch or burst the blisters. The body should be kept clean. Hands should be washed using anti-bacterial soap. Gargling with saltwater will help to treat the blisters in the mouth. The patient should drink lot of water and the clothes used by him/her should be disinfected properly.

Vaccination available

Nowadays, preventive vaccination also is available for the infection, the department said.

Chickenpox infection is caused by a virus. It can spread through direct contact with the rash. It can also spread when a person with the chickenpox coughs or sneezes and you inhale the air droplets.

New bumps continue to appear for several days, so one may have all three stages of the rash — bumps, blisters and scabbed lesions — at the same time. One can spread the virus to other people for up to 48 hours before the rash appears, and the virus remains contagious until all broken blisters have crusted over.

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