Chickenpox- Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies
Children tend to fall sick often and one of the most common childhood illnesses is chickenpox. At some point in his or her childhood an individual is infected by chickenpox. Even though chickenpox is not unheard of and is easily curable, one must take certain precautions when affected by chickenpox or else it might cause some serious damage.
What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a contagious infection caused by Varicella- Zoster virus. It could affect both children and adults. Children below the age of 12 are more prone to chickenpox. In children the level of infection is usually mild. Children with weaker immune system could easily catch this infection.
What Causes Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease. It can be carried by person to person through coughing, sneezing etc. It can also be contracted when you come in contact with a person who has shingles (which is a delayed reaction of chickenpox).
chickenpox usually happens only once during a lifetime. The infection produces antibodies in your body that help you fight another attack of chickenpox.
Symptoms Of Chickenpox In Children
chickenpox in children usually starts with fever aches and pain, though rashes and bumps are a sure shot symptom of chickenpox. Red itchy rashes start appearing on the child’s body with a lot of irritation and it is considered as a first sign of being infected with chickenpox. After a day or so if the same rashes start forming blisters with fluid which then begin to break and leak. Crusts start forming and this takes even more days to heal.
Some children even lose their appetite. After these symptoms appear, in a couple of days rashes show up. These rashes are initially red and may soon take form of tiny blisters. They will rapidly spread throughout the body. The number of blisters varies from person to person. Some kids may only get a few while other may get many. These rashes and blisters are very itchy make children irritable. More or less, chickenpox lasts for 5 to 10 days, though new bumps continue to appear for several more days.
How Dangerous is Chickenpox?
Unborn babies that contract chickenpox from their mothers can be born with deformities like damaged limbs, eyes and brain. Adults and children with weaker immune systems face even more risks. Chickenpox can cause pneumonia as well. Chickenpox blisters if not taken care off can turn into permanent scars or may cause Necrotizing Fasciitis which is a dangerous skin disease.
How Can Chickenpox Be Treated In Children
Consult the doctor: If you observe that your child is feeling tired or lethargic quicker than usual or if he develops many red sores on his body contact the doctor immediately. It is also advisable to make a doctor’s appointment if your child’s fever keeps reoccurring frequently in a day or two
Medication: It is always important to consult a doctor before giving your child medication of any kind. Never give asprin to a child suffering with chickenpox it may damage the brain or the liver. Instead give him paracetamol to bring down the fever and reduce body aches. Click here to know how aspirin can harm a child
For the blisters: Do not let your child touch or scratch the rashes and blisters. Scratching the rashes will make it worse and they will start spreading as well. To relieve your child, you could use Calamine Lotion or other such lotions recommended by the doctor. You could also add baking soda to the bathing water it will calm down the skin and reduce the itchy feeling.
Keep the child hydrated: Chickenpox can cause dehydration so give your child plenty of fluids. If your baby is young feed him extra breast milk or baby formula or even water will suffice. If your child is a little older you could give him soups and fresh fruit juices
Dress him right: Your child’s skin is very sensitive and irritable during chickenpox. Dress him in light, breezy and cotton clothes; this will help will the itching tremendously
Keep the diet simple: The blisters that occur on the scalp, mouth and throat are especially painful hence feed the child simple and non spicy food. Avoid putting ‘masala’
in the food and give him food that is easily digestible
Can Chickenpox Be Prevented In Children?
Since Chickenpox is highly contagious, make sure your child doesn’t play with kids who are suffering with chickenpox. The best precaution however is vaccination (varicella vaccine). Vaccination significantly reduces the chances of contracting chickenpox and even of a vaccinated child gets chickenpox, it is milder and recovery is also quicker. However, if your child has a weak immune system and catches the chickenpox infection, which is in the initial stage, you must take him to the doctor immediately. The doctor will administer a special type of vaccine that will prevent the disease from spreading.
Home Remedies For Chickenpox In Children
The virus will take its course to subside, however, some home remedies can make your child feel slightly better:
Baking Soda: A solution of half a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water can be applied on the bumps and blisters and should be left to dry. Apply the solution using a clean and soft washcloth. You can even make your child bathe in water that has about half-a-cup of baking soda
Honey: Pure honey can be used to coat the rashes and it will provide relief from itchiness and expedite healing
Neem Leaves: A paste made of a handful of neem leaves can be applied on the affected areas. Neem has high antibacterial properties and it helps in quick recovery. Neem leaves can also be added to bathing water
Sandalwood oil: Drops of sandalwood oil can be applied on the blisters after mixing with some almond oil. Sandalwood oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and also helps in fading scars
Lavender oil: Skin irritation and itching can be treated with lavender oil. Pour some drops of lavender oil in a carrier oil like almond oil and apply on affected areas. Chamomile oil and lavender oil can also be added to lukewarm water and you can either make your child take a bath in this or ask him to soak himself in this water
Chickenpox During Pregnancy
Pregnant women can contract chickenpox very easily. So, when pregnant, avoid visiting those who have chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox before it is unlikely that you will contract it again, neither will it affect the child in any way. If you are planning to get pregnant and have never contracted chickenpox before, consult your doctor and get vaccinated.
chickenpox can cause severe problems to the unborn baby so it is better to be safe than sorry.