Chickenpox is a highly contagious rash that usually occurs in childhood. Airborne droplets containing the virus transmit the chickenpox virus infection. Many years later, the virus reactivates as Shingles and comes out of the nerve where it has been dormant to form a red blistering rash. Treatment options for shingles include oral medications to treat the virus. For chickenpox, a calamine or similar anti-itching lotion can be applied. Oatmeal baths and aloe vera gel offer some relief as well.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is spread through coughing or sneezing. It begins with a slight fever, and possibly a sore throat. Then, a rash of red spots will begin. These blisters are itchy, and can develop across much of the body. There is no cure for chickenpox, and treatment often consists of alleviating symptoms. Over-the-counter antihistamines, Tylenol or ibuprofen can help to control symptoms.
The chickenpox virus never leaves the body once exposed, and remains dormant in a nerve root near the spinal cord. Stress, illness, certain drugs, and radiation therapy can reactivate this virus in some individuals, usually those over the age of 50. Shingles appear as groups of small blisters that are associated with pain, itching, and a burning sensation. A person with shingles can spread chickenpox to anyone who has never had it, or has not received the varicella vaccination. However, you cannot directly catch shingles from a carrier.