My youngest officially has chicken pox. Thankfully my older two children have had them before so they are at a lower risk of getting them again. I thought I would write an info post to help parents that have children with chicken pox.
Firstly I want to say that chicken pox is a contagious illness, If your child has started to shows signs of having chicken pox it is best to start taking the steps to stop the infection from spreading. Phone their school or nursery and inform them your child has chicken pox. Your child will need to be off school or nursery for at least a week. I will explain more about this below.
Chicken pox is a common illness and mainly affects children, It appears as a spotty rash over the childs body and can become very itchy. Chicken pox can easily be mistaken for other illnesses. If you have never seen chicken pox before this is what they look like.
In most cases the chicken pox are mild and will clear up on their own without needing to seek medical advice. However it can be quite dangerous for some people and you need to take extra precautions to make sure you child stays away from pregnant ladies, newborn babies, elderly people and anyone with a weakened immune system.
The symptoms of chicken pox generally start appearing three weeks after they have first been in contact with the infection. The rash that appears with chicken pox develops in three stages.
SPOTS – Red raised spots appear, firstly around the face and chest before spreading to the rest of the childs body.
BLISTERS – Over the next day or so the spots become very itch and form into little blisters.
( This is the worst stage of the chicken pox and you may need to find ways to stop your child itching them)
SCABS – After a couple of days the blisters will dry out and become scabs. The scab will normally fall off by themselves after a few days.
( At this point keep a close eye on your child, if they pick the scabs off they are more likely to be left with little scars.)
Chicken pox continue to be contagious up until the blisters have scabbed over, most schools do not allow a child to go back until the blisters have scabbed over and even then some schools don’t like them to come back until the scabs have gone completely.
Chicken pox can make your child feel very uncomfortable and they may become very irritable. It can also make your child quite poorly, its common for your child to get a cold, cough and have a fever while they have the chicken pox.
There are a few things you can do to help your child feel a more comfortable.
PARACETAMOL – This is good to help with the fever and also will limit the effects of the cough and cold. DO NOT use anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, as this can make someone with chicken pox really ill.
MOISTURISER CREAM/CALAMINE LOTION – Both of these work wonders to relieve the itchy feeling and will help your child feel more comfortable.
ANTIHISTAMINES – You can get this in liquid form or tablets. A good brand that I use is PIRITON, Antihistamines help relieve the itching and can calm down the redness of the spots.
These are the most common tips you will hear but as a parent I have used a few other tips and tricks to help my children deal with chicken pox. One of the best things is to give your child an oat bath. All you need to do is fill the feet of a pair of tights with oats and as you run your child a bath, hang the tights over the tap into the stream of water, this will make the water milky, You can also use the filled tights like a sponge. This works amazingly because the oats leave a type of film over the childs body and it really helps to calm the spots and really reduce the itching.
For younger children I always found it helps to keep them in a bodysuit/vests that pop up between their legs, that way they can’t actually get to the spots to scratch them and they won’t do any more damage to their skin. Rubbing round in a circular motion instead of scratching the spots can help with the itching and if you are gentle it will not pop the blisters or knock off any scabs.
Getting your child out into the fresh air will help lift their mood, the park isn’t a great place to go until the blisters have scabbed over but playing out in the garden can be a great distraction and a good activity for the child to let some of that energy out while they are not allowed at school or nursery.
In most cases the chicken pox infection is mild and you will not need to go to the doctors or seek medical advice however there are some circumstances that you will need to see your doctor.
- Your child is less than four weeks old.
- Chicken pox symptoms have not improved after six days.
- If you are pregnant.
- If you get the chicken pox.
- If the spots become swollen and painful to touch.
- If your child is absolutely covered head-to-toe in spots.
DISCLAIMER: I have absolutely NO MEDICAL TRAINING. This I have written is purely based on my research and my own personal experience with chicken pox. If you have any doubts about anything, please seek medical advice and go to your GP. It is always better to be safer.