Laghu masurika , popularly known as chickenpox is a very common disease that affects mostly children between the age of one and ten years. The abundance of the disease is so great that about four-fifths of the entire population of the world has suffered from laghu masurika at one time of their life or another. Laghu masurika is also known as varicella in medical terms.
Laghu masurika is a viral disease caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also known as the human herpes virus 3. This disease appears as rash or blisters on the skin that lasts for about one or two weeks. The rashes are red and itchy. Their sizes also vary from one person to another. Most times, laghu masurika is accompanied by symptoms of common cold like a runny nose, watery eyes, etc.
A person who has once got laghu masurika cannot get it again in his or her lifetime. However, the varicella zoster virus remains permanently inside the body once it enters it. It can cause zoster or shingles in the person in later years.
Like its related (but more serious) disease, masurika, laghu masurika is also caused due to a vitiation of all the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is the environmental component, pitta is the component of fire and kapha is a component of water and earth. When all these three vitiate, there is an incidence of laghu masurika in the person.
Some people are more vulnerable to laghu masurika than others. The following people are included in this category:-
Almost all children can get laghu masurika before they enter into adulthood.
Some infants get laghu masurika when they are weaned from breast milk and formula is started.
People with sensitive skins that rash easily can get laghu masurika.
Sometimes bubble baths with strong soaps can also cause laghu masurika.
People who are in contact with other laghu masurika patients have a much higher chance of getting the disease themselves.
Having said that, it is necessary to know that laghu masurika is a disease that can be prevented by timely vaccination.
The symptoms of laghu masurika begin to appear one or two days after the entry of the varicella zoster virus in the body of the person. The sequence of symptoms is as follows:-
(i) The initial symptom is that of a common cold. The person will have a runny or a stuffy nose. There will be a burning sensation in the eyes and they will water and become red.
(ii) Two or three days after the onset of the common cold, a rash appears on the skin. This rash may begin on the face, but will continue to cover the chest, back, arms and legs.
(iii) The initial rash is pinkish, but the color deepens in a day or two. Blisters develop on the rash, which are pimply bumps filled with a fluid.
(iv) In another day or two, the fluid in the blisters becomes cloudy and it begins to flow out. The blisters begin to crust.
(v) The initial blisters disappear in a couple of days, but new spots appear. Hence, the blisters appear in cycles.
(vi) This cyclic formation of blisters may continue for up to two weeks, though in some cases it may stop on the third day itself.
(vii) When the chickenpox is subsiding, the blisters develop into scabs and dry off. The passing away of the blisters might be accompanied with stomachache and mild fever.
Laghu masurika is an extremely contagious disease. It passes very quickly among the people who are not vaccinated against the disease. An unvaccinated person has a 75% chance of contracting the varicella zoster virus. When a person contracts the varicella zoster virus, he or she has got the greatest chance of transmitting the chicken pox virus to others in the first five days. This is roughly the period when the rash shows up. The person remains contagious till the rashes convert into blisters and subside. This can take from anywhere between two days to two weeks.
The following are the chief ways in which the laghu masurika virus can spread from an affected person to a healthy person:-
People who have been vaccinated against laghu masurika have a very less chance of getting infected with the chicken pox virus. Also people who have had laghu masurika in their past have very slim chances of getting affected again.
It must be noted that pregnant women should take extreme care when there is someone who has been affected by laghu masurika. Even if the woman has been vaccinated and the virus cannot cause laghu masurika in her, there can be several complications in the fetus. The baby can be born underweight, or with poorly developed limbs. The baby can also be mentally retarded due to the laghu masurika virus in the most severe of cases.
People with other sicknesses are also more susceptible to laghu masurika than healthy people. This holds true even if the person has been vaccinated. The reason behind this is that a sick person has low body resistance to prevent infection. Therefore a sick person must keep away from patients of laghu masurika to avoid any drastic complications.
Vaccination is the surest way to prevent laghu masurika. The vaccine is developed against the varicella zoster virus, and its effects can last up to a lifetime. Today, all countries of the world advise the vaccination against the varicella zoster virus in early infancy to prevent any infections in future.
Apart from that, if a person is not vaccinated, then the following must be done to prevent infection during an epidemic of laghu masurika:-
In the Ayurvedic treatment of laghu masurika, neem requires a special mention. Neem is a big, bitter-leafed tree, native to India and Myanmar. The biological name of the neem is Azadirachtha indica. Since ancient times, neem has found a widespread use in the curing of laghu masurika. Indians believe that laghu masurika is actually a visitation of a goddess, and neem appeases the goddesses. However, there is a strong scientific base to the use of the neem in the treatment of laghu masurika.
Indians use the neem in different ways during the entire treatment of laghu masurika.
Each of these treatments is very significant. The following qualities of neem amply illustrate how effective it is in warding off laghu masurika:-
Apart from neem, there are several other herbs prescribed in Ayurveda that can take care of laghu masurika. The following is a list of these herbs with their actions on the human body.
Several other herbs can be used in form of teas. These teas reduce the itchy sensation that the blisters of laghu masurika cause. The herbs that make effective teas are:-
The teas become more effective if some honey and coriander is mixed in them during the preparation.
Some other commonly used remedies for laghu masurika are:-
Sponging the person with a solution of baking soda in water provides instant relief from the itchy sensation of the blisters.
Brown vinegar is also widely used. When brown vinegar is directly applied to the blisters, it provides relief from the itchiness.
Ayurvedic preparations that are proven effective in reducing the itchy sensation of blisters of laghu masurika are as follows:-