Chickenpox - Do's and Don'ts
What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a very common childhood illness that develops very quickly. Fever and cold symptoms are often the first symptoms of this illness although quite often the first warning is the telltale rash that appears over the body within a matter of hours. The rash starts as tiny little pink bumps similar to a hive. These develop a water blister which becomes yellow and weepy looking. This will eventually crust over. The rash usually starts behind the ears and on the trunk of the body and then spreads outwards to other parts of the body.
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Chickenpox - What To Do
- Do take precautions not to spread the infection. - Symptoms usually develop 8 to 21 days after exposure and the infected person can spread the infection for up to 3 days before the rash appears and until the last spot has crusted over.
- Do make the child as comfortable as possible. - Lukewarm baths two or three times a day with baking soda or oatmeal products will help to ease the itching. Remember to pat the skin dry.
- Do prepare yourself to be very patient as children can become very irritated by the constant itchy feeling.
- Do try to keep the child as calm as possible - reading, watching TV etc, as energetic activities may cause the childs skin to sweat and become uncomfortable.
- Do treat the spots with a calming lotion such as Eurax to relieve the itching.
- Do contact your doctor if you are concerned that any of the chickenpox have become infected or your child is unable to eat, drink or develops a high fever.
Chickenpox - What Not To Do
- Don't allow the child to scratch! - Scratching can cause scarring. If necessary use mittens and cut the child's nails.
- Don't bring the child to a crowded doctors surgery. This will spread the infection further and there be people in the waiting room with a weakened immune system (ie patients with leukaemia or after an organ transplant) to whom chickenpox could be very dangerous.
- Don't spend time in the contact of the eldery - the elderly are more prone to developing shingles when in contact with chickenpox.
- Don't give the child asprin based products if they have a fever and chickenpox as this has been associated with the development of Reyes Syndrome in later years.