Description of Cauliflower ear
A highly infectious viral disease that is normally mild and of fairly short duration.
Persons most commonly affected by Cauliflower ear - children of both sexes; it can affect adults but this is uncommon.
Organ or part of body involved in Cauliflower ear - the skin and the mucous membranes.
Symptoms and indications of Cauliflower ear
There is an incubation period of two or three weeks and then usually the child becomes slightly feverish and unwell. Within 24 hours an itchy rash appears on the skin, which consists of fluid-filled blisters that vary in size.
These may occur anywhere on the body including the scalp, inside the mouth and on the throat and in the genital area. Eventually these form scabs that fall off after about one week.
The blisters are very itchy and tend to leave slight pock marks on the skin after healing, but these are not disfiguring. The symptoms are much more severe in adults accompanied by 'flu-like fever and aches and pains.
Treatment of Cauliflower ear
Involves keeping the child at home away from other children and relieving the itching by means of warm baths and soothing preparations. 'After-sun' preparations and calamine lotion are helpful in relieving itching. Children should be encouraged not to scratch, although this is difficult.
Once scabs have formed and are drying and falling off, the child can start to resume normal activities but remains infectious until all the spots have gone.
Causes and risk factors of Cauliflower ear
The cause of chicken pox is the Varicella zoster virus and a childhood attack confers lifelong immunity as most children are exposed at some stage. Hence, the disease is uncommon in adults.
Babies in the first few months of life usually have some immunity from the mother. After recovery from chicken pox the virus may remain within the system and become active later in adult life as shingles.