Chickenpox is a viral infection that is highly contagious.
The disease most commonly shows symptoms such as rashes that quickly turn into itchy, fluid-filled blisters, and then scabs. The rash usually develops first on the face, back, and chest, before spreading to the rest of the body.
Here are some tips on how to care for a child with chickenpox:
1. Keep your child at home
Chickenpox is highly contagious. Prevent them from spreading the virus to others by keeping them at home until all of their blisters have scabbed over and no new blisters develop. It will usually take approximately a week for the chickenpox blisters to become scabs.
2. Relieve itch
You can give your child an OTC antihistamine for children. Be sure to read the label and only give the recommended dose for your child’s age.
3. Trim their fingernails
Chickenpox can be incredibly itchy and there will always be a strong urge to scratch the blisters. However, this may cause skin infections. You can avoid this by trimming your child’s nails short, or putting mittens over their hands.
4. Treat fever
Bring down their fever with non-aspirin medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Steer clear from using aspirin with chickenpox as this has been found to be highly related to developing Reye’s syndrome – a serious disease that affects the brain and liver and may cause death.
5. Colloidal oatmeal bath soaks
Colloidal oatmeal relieves some of the itchiness that comes with chickenpox. They’re widely available at any local drugstore. Simply add the oatmeal to a tub filled with lukewarm water and have your child with chickenpox soak in it for a few minutes.
6. Apply topical ointments after bath
Petroleum jelly, calamine lotion, or other anti-itch, fragrance-free lotions are best applied after bath. However, be careful to avoid OTC topical antibiotics as they may cause some allergic reactions.
Chickenpox mostly clears on its own without treatment. But if your child develops any skin infection or if your child has a weak immune system, be sure to consult your pediatrician for further medical evaluation.