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Both chickenpox and measles are childhood diseases that children get. However, measles is no longer prevalent as there is a vaccine available from 1969 to protect children from getting the measles virus.
Today, we see most cases of measles among young adults who did not get immunized against the disease as children.There is a difference between chicken pox and measles as parents should know which disease their kids have. This will allow them to take appropriate treatment measures.
Chicken pox is caused by the varicella zoster virus. This virus belongs to the herpes virus family. The virus is capable of causing two separate diseases, namely chickenpox and shingles, which occurs when the dormant virus becomes active in the body.
Chickenpox is a very contagious disease. It spreads mainly by coughing and sneezing, and when a person comes in contact with secretion that oozes out of the skin lesions. Chickenpox causes fever and red itchy rash all over the body. The rash initially starts on the abdomen, back or face, and then it spreads to the rest of the body. The rash first looks like a red lumps that appear like insect bites. Then they lumps become blisters that get filled with clear liquid. Finally the blisters break and form crusts, which then turn in dry brown scabs. Chickenpox blisters are normally present in different stages of maturity. They are more in number on the covered parts of the body. It is also possible to get chickenpox blisters in the mouth, genitals and upper portion of the respiratory tract.
Usually when a person gets chickenpox, he develops lifelong immunity. However, the virus stays dormant in the body and can resurface as shingles. Complications developing from chicken pox are rare, but they can include pneumonia, encephalitis and bacterial infections.
From 1995, a vaccine against chickenpox is available. Most children are meant to be vaccinated between 12 and 15 months of age. Then they are given a booster shot when the reach 4 years. Even with the vaccine, children can still get chickenpox, but a milder version.
Measles is also a viral disease where the infected person gets characteristic spots known as Koplik spots on the tongue and cheek during the early stages. The rash appears a few days later on the face and then it spreads to the other parts of the body. The rash is blotchy in appearance and lasts for around 4 to 7 days. In addition, the person will get fever, cough and tearing from the eyes.
Complications from measles can result in seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis. Measles usually starts with a mild fever for one to two days along with swelling of the lymph nodes present behind the ears or at the back of the neck. The rash appears even colored, and it can be red or pink in color. It can be itchy. As the rash spreads from the face to the rest of the body, it clears up from the face.
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