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Chickenpox: How To Care For Your Child

Chickenpox is in season, so parents and child care providers should take note of some skin irritations on their child’s skin; and sudden or gradual changes in their health such as rash, little blisters, loss of appetite, less energy and mild fever.

This disease is highly contagious caused by a virus. Its common symptoms in addition to the above-mentioned include an itchy skin rash that looks like little blisters filled with fluid.

How it is Spread

According to medical experts, Chickenpox is transmitted through the air when a child is in close contact with someone who has the disease.

Another way of contacting chickenpox is when the child touches the rash or objects that the infected child has handled. There is a common belief that once a person has had chickenpox, it is very rare to get it again.


Most Likely Symptoms

It takes around 14 to 16 days after a child has been exposed to the virus before the chickenpox rash appears. And before about 24 to 48 hours of the appearance of the rash; the child is most likely to have a slight fever, loses appetite for food even the most favourite meals. The child can also lose some regular energy, which is unlikely of him or her.

Parents and guardians should be vigilant about their child’s changes in mood, action and behaviour at every point in time. This would help the child’s well-being and promptness of action.

After the rash becomes visible, parents should take note of the child’s health such as; continuous slight fever, feeling irritable and meticulous because of the itching.

It is also advisable that parents ensure that their children are immunised against chickenpox at an early age. This kind of immunization prevents such and a child who has received it may rarely develop a very mild form of the disease. Peradventure it occurs later, the rash on the child’s body will not be severe and the duration won’t be longer.

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How to Prevent Chickenpox From Spreading

A child infected with chickenpox needs to be isolated from other children because of their level of immune system. As mentioned above, the disease is contagious, which means; it has the possibility of transmitting to others who have never had it before.

So the child can transmit it from 48 hours; before the rash appears until all the blisters have dried and crusted over. This takes about 7 days.

It is better and healthier that parents and child care givers should ensure that the affected child stays at home; and keep him or her away from others, especially those who have not had it before. They should also prevent them from getting in touch with children whose immune systems are quite low. More so, the child with chickenpox should not be seen or allowed to visit public places such as malls, parks, religious settings, schools, playgrounds and other related areas.


Ways to Care for Your Child With Chickenpox

There are several ways you can care for your child who has active chickenpox – medically, physically and mentally.

Let me first highlight that parents need to show love to such a child especially when there are other children around him or her. Some children could feel rejected or abandoned because of their condition and they might not understand why they are isolated. Parents should calmly and with love explain to the child no matter what age he or she may be.

According to medical research, parents are not allowed to give aspirin to the child if he or she has a fever and is uncomfortable. Aspirin is said to lead to a dangerous illness called Reye’s syndrome. So, instead, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen in replace of Aspirin.

Parents should ensure that they have daily baths for the child and wear clean clothes to prevent the blisters from becoming infected.

Another way is to make sure that the child’s fingernails are clean and cut short. For infants or toddlers, you can wear cotton mittens or socks on his hands at night to prevent scratching the rash.

Do not at any time try to apply self-help on the child’s blisters or scabs by breaking them. I have a friend who has scars of chickenpox all over her skin due to the breaking of the blisters when she had chickenpox at her younger age. Breaking the blisters could leave scars or dark spots on the child’s skin for years without totally getting cleared off.

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Possible Ways to Relieve Itching

If your child has itchy skin because of the rash, here are ways you can help:

Apply calamine lotion on the rash twice or thrice in a day and at bedtime. Or you can make a paste of baking soda and water to put on the rash to help stop the itching.

Wear loose and cool clothing for the child, tight and warm clothing will make the child uncomfortable and increase the itching.

Allow the child to bath and play in the water for 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this twice or thrice in a day. Don’t leave the child alone in the bathroom or bathtub to prevent domestic accident.

Engage the child in some indoor games, this helps in distracting the child from the itches. And if your child is a teen, you can explain how to relieve himself from the itches by pressing the areas with his fingers, instead of scratching the blisters.


Beyond Normal Temperature? Call the Doctor

Children vary in their body temperature and reaction to illnesses. So, here are signs you need to watch out for to determine a quick call for a doctor or a visit to the hospital.

When the blisters look infected with signs of redness, sore and pus.

A blister that is very close to the eyes, pain in the ears and draining.

Itching that causes sleepless nights for the child.

Sudden cough, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

A reoccurring fever and new rash even after six days.


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