Health and Wellness

Childhood Chickenpox – What is it and what is the best way we can treat it

Chickenpox is a viral infection that causes flu like symptoms and itchy spots all of the child’s body. It is extremely contagious (2 days before the rash appears until all the blisters are crusted over) and can spread through the air by coughing or sneezing or through direct contact with saliva/mucus.

Chickenpox symptoms:

• Fever
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Stomachache (sometimes)
• Red itchy rash all over body. They start as little pimples and then develop into thin walled blisters filled with fluid. When the blisters break, the child will have open sores which will then turn into dry brown scabs.

Here are some tips to help your child suffering with chickenpox:

1. Look after the fever

Fever is one of the first symptoms of chickenpox. It can appear a few days before the first blister and sometimes at the same time. Treat the fever like you normally would – keep your child cool, hydrated and consult your doctor on the necessary dose of medication to give.

2. Stop the itching

This is one of the worst things about chickenpox – the intense itchiness that comes with the spots. Although it can be really HARD, try your best to prevent your child from scratching the scabs too much because they could leave permanent scars. You can put cotton gloves/socks on your child’s hands. This will help in reducing the scratching. A good way to sooth the itching is to give your child a warm bath approx every four hours. You can also add cold compresses to the blisters to soothe and reduce the itchy feeling. Consult your doctor on which cream you can use on your child’s skin.

3. Prevent Infection

The last thing you want your child to get is a bacterial infection on top of the chicken pox. Whilst your child has the pox, pay close attention to hygiene. Make sure your child washes their hands regularly with anti-bacterial soap and you keep their nails short so no dirt can get stuck under them.
When the blisters break, make sure you wash them with a mild soap. Try to cover all of the wounds with a sterile bandage when possible.

4. Vaccination

If you are reading this and your child has not yet had the chickenpox, it is advised to vaccinate them. If your child is older than one year, they are eligible for the vaccination (varicella) which is the best way to protect your child from the decease and illness’s that may appear later in life due to the chickenpox.

Consult your paediatrician if the fever is severely high and runs for more than two days or it looks like the wounds may be infected (red, painful to touch and oozing with puss). If your child develops severe headaches, a stiff neck or has trouble breathing, take them to the emergency room immediately.

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