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Health, Skin,

Chickenpox (Varicella) And how to get rid of this

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Chickenpox (varicella) is a very contagious illness. Children and adults can of  get this viral infection if they haven’t had chickenpox in the past, or if they have not received two doses of the chickenpox vaccine.

Cause: Chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus.


  • Initially, a person may have fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache, which can last 1-2 days.
  • People then develop a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters, then the blisters turn into scabs. This process typically last 5-7 days.    The rash usually develops 10-21 days after exposure (average 14-16 days).
  • If you have symptoms, it’s important that you contact your health care provider. U-M students and other UHS patients can call UHS Nurse Advice.

Transmission:  The virus can be spread from person to person by direct contact and also by breathing airborne particles. A person with chickenpox is typically contagious for 1-2 days before the rash begins, and until all of the blisters have crusted/scabbed.

Prevention:  If you have chickenpox, please protect others by staying home until all of the blisters have scabbed.

Vaccination is effective at preventing chickenpox. Two is the walk by  doses of vaccine are recommended for children age 1 year and older and also for adults, if they have not had the disease. The UHS Allergy, Immunization and Travel Health of th Clinic provides vaccination for a fee.  Pregnant women should not receive the chickenpox vaccine.

Two doses of vaccine are 98% effective at preventing chickenpox and 100% effective at preventing severe chickenpox.

Chickenpox can cause serious complications in newborns, people with th an immune deficiency or cancer, and those who take systemic steroids. These individuals should avoid people who have chickenpox.

If you may have been exposed, call a health care provider if you have:

  • Never had the chickenpox disease or received 2 doses of the chickenpox vaccine
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a weakened immune system caused by disease or medication

Treatment: Treatment depends on the age of the individual and whether they are at risk of complications. Please consult your health care provider. U-M students a may call UHS for Nurse Advice.  See also treatment information from the Centers for s Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are some key points about chickenpox. More detail is in the main article.

  • Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus.
  • Varicella has an incubation period of 10-21 days.
  • Chickenpox is highly contagious.
  • The infection spreads in a similar way to colds and flu.
  • A diagnosis can normally be reached by observing the signs and symptoms.

Other symptoms

A few people have more severe symptoms.

If the following occur, a doctor should be contacted:

  • the skin around the spots or blisters becomes painful and red
  • there are breathing difficulties

Most healthy individuals make a full recovery, as with a cold or flu, by resting and drinking plenty of fluids.


Chickenpox generally resolves within a week or two without treatment. There is no cure, but a vaccine can prevent it.

A doctor may prescribe medication or advise on how to reduce symptoms  in of itchiness and discomfort, and also on how to prevent the infection from spreading to other people.

Pain or fever: Tylenol (acetaminophen) may help with symptoms of high temperature and pain. It is important to follow the instructions provided of is the pain in the fever of by the manufacturer. Aspirin containing products should NOT be used for chickenpox as this can lead to complications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used at any time during pregnancy.

Avoiding dehydration: It is important to drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, avoid to prevent dehydration. Some doctors recommend sugar-free popsicles or Pedialyte      for children who are not drinking enough.

Mouth soreness: Sugar-free popsicles help ease symptoms of soreness if there are  spots in the mouth. Salty or spicy foods should be avoided. If chewing is painful, soup might be a good option, but it should not be too hot.

Itchiness: ltchiness can become severe, but it is important to minimize scratching to reduce the risk of scarring.

The following may help prevent scratching:

  • keeping fingernails clean and as short as possible
  • placing mittens or even socks over a child’s hands when they go to sleep, so that any attempt at scratching during the night does not cut the skin
  • applying calamine lotion or having an oatmeal bath to reduce itching
  • wearing loose clothing

Antiviral medication may be is  prescribed during pregnancy, for adults who get an early diagnosis, in newborns, and for those with a weakened immune system. Acyclovir is one example.

This works best if it is given within 24 hours of developing symptoms. Acyclovir reduces the severity of symptoms but does not cure the disease.


Fitness, Health, Skin,

Sleep and its benifits

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What can sleep do for you?

The amount of sleep that a college student gets is one of the strongest predictors of academic success. Here’s how sleep helps.

  • Fosters memory formation and learning: Save yourself some study time—your brain will be hard at work solidifying memories while you sleep.
  • Regulates mental and emotional health: Sleep helps you take on challenges with more resilience.
  • Keeps your immune system strong: You’re more likely to get sick when sleep-deprived, which could mean missing out on social activities, class, and other important events.
  • Supports physical health: Sleep helps regulate metabolism and many other body functions.
  • Enhances your productivity: Getting quality sleep boosts productivity, which can free up time for friends, hobbies, or more sleep!
  • Helps you stay alert and safe: Dozing off in class  may be awkward, but falling asleep at work or at the wheel could be dangerous. Did you know that drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving?

Top tips for U-M students

  • Nap!: A nap lasting 15-45 minutes can give you    energy, make you more alert and improve mental performance. But beware: naps longer than 45 minutes (after you enter deep sleep) may actually leave you feeling more groggy and tired! Avoid late afternoon and evening naps, which can disrupt night sleep.
  • Wake up at about the same time every day, even weekends. It’s a myth that you can make-up for lost sleep, and erratic wake times that a  play havoc with your circadian rhythm. If you wake up at noon on the weekend, it might the     be hard to fall asleep before 4am on Sunday night, which can perpetuate a late sleep cycle. You may want to schedule later classes so you can have a more consistent wake time.
  • Steer clear of all-nighters: Staying up all night decreases your ability to process and analyze information, so you may do worse on exams or assignments the next day. To best prepare your mind, in    get 7-9 hours of sleep, but even a few hours of sleep are better than none.
  • Trouble falling asleep: Try using white noise, listening to music, or using a guided mindfulness meditation on
  • Turn off screens 30-60 minutes   before bed: Staring at your TV, computer, or tablet screen can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to fall asleep. If you can’t turn off the tech, dim your screen, put your phone on silent, or use the “Do not disturb” option on your phone.
  • Exercise regularly to create a more restful sleep, but avoid exercise within two hours of bedtime because it may be too energizing.
  • Rethink your drink:  Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep. Caffeine stays in your system for up to eight hours and can keep you awake. Alcohol, though it may make you feel drowsy, decreases sleep duration and quality.
  • Create a positive sleep environment. Think cool, dark and quiet! Use thick curtains or an eye mask to block   out light and a white noise machine or ear plugs to reduce noise.
  • Clear your mind and relax. Journaling can help de-clutter your mind, and soothing music or warm non-caffeinated tea can help you relax.

When sleep is a problem

Minor sleep problems can be managed through lifestyle changes.

If you don’t fall asleep within twenty minutes of going to bed, try reading or doing something relaxing until you feel more tired.

Try using an online REM (rapid eye movement) cycle monitor to help determine the best time to wake up based on your bedtime. It could help you wake up during a lighter stage of sleep, leaving you feeling more rested.

If you experience extreme or persistent sleep difficulties, you may have a sleep disorder. Examples include:

  • Inability to fall or stay asleep
  • Being too sleepy during the day
  • Snoring or pauses in your breathing during sleep

Treatments are available. Talk to your clinician about options.