Chicken Pox is an infection which is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus. It is responsible for a horrible rash which normally starts as small red spots which then turn into fluid filled blisters after about 12-14 hours. These blisters can be extremely itchy and your child may be very out of sorts when they start to appear (i have horrible memories of trying to comfort them whilst they wriggled with pain in their sleep at night!). The blisters remain like this for a day or two before becoming cloudy and drying up. They most commonly appear on the chest, back, and face but also affect the arms and legs. Unfortunately they can also appear inside the ears, mouth and on the nappy area. It’s really important to do all that you can to ensure your child is comfortable during this time. It’s also important to minimise the itching and scratching of the blisters to prevent them from becoming infected and scarring.
To read all about the treatments available, without prescription, for chicken pox read my product review here – https://wonderbaba.ie/2015/01/01/verdict-on-chicken-pox-products/
The chicken pox are highly contagious for a couple of days before the blisters first appear and until they have all completely scabbed over – so the blisters are contagious, not the scabs.. The virus can also be passed by coughing and sneezing etc.
Generally the patient feels worst for the couple of days before the blisters appear and until they scab over. At this point it’s really just healing wounds and the illness itself has passed. You may find that some spots are drying out and others are just arriving. This is because chicken pox tend to come in clusters for 3-5 days so the spots can be at different stages of blistering or healing.
Symptoms other than the distinctive rash can be similar to the flu and may include:
- Feeling sick or nauseous.
- A high temperature (read my guide on how to treat them by clicking here!)
- Aches and pains.
- Loss of appetite.
Your child will need to stay off school until they are feeling better and all of their spots have scabbed over. Whilst they are contagious I would also urge you to keep them at home as much as you can so as not to put immunocompromised or pregnant people at risk of catching the virus as it can be more dangerous for them. It is also advisable to keep infected children away from new born babies as much as possible.
If your child has the chicken pox you should contact the doctor by phone to arrange a suitable appointment (let them know your child has chicken pox in advance so that they can ensure you are not coming into contact with vulnerable patients in the waiting room) if you suspect your child’s blisters have become infected. You should also contact your GP:
- If you suspect your newborn baby has the chickenpox
- If you are pregnant and have come into contact with someone who is infected and you have never had them previously.
- If you have a weakened immune system.
Seek emergency help if:
- You suspect your child is dehydrated – read my dehydration blog here!
- If your child has pain in their chest or difficulty breathing.
I hope you find this helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!