Chicken pox or Varicella is a contagious, viral disease. It is characterized by eruption  of vesicles or small blisters on the skin. THe Varicella zoster virus cases chicken pox and the incubation period is two weeks. It is more common in children in the 2-6 age group but uncommon in adults. Looking after a small child, though, is a tedious task.

What to expect

Before the eruption of vesicles, the symptoms include a slight  fever, runny nose, mild cough, no appetite and a mild headache. The symptoms  may be mild in children but serious in adults. After two weeks, red papules appear on chest or back. Within 12 to 24 hours, they develop into tense vesicles with clear fluid and after 36 hours, they become milky. These vesicles are raised and itchy.

On the fourth day of the onset of chicken pox, the vesicles shrivel and become scabs. Soon the scabs fall leaving no scar. The vesicles occur on face and limbs, on mucous membrane of mouth and palate. The temperature  rises above 102 degree Fahrenheit. It runs its course and produces permanent immunity.

Manage the symptoms of chicken pox

How do you take care of a child with chicken pox? Kids get restless and itchy, so during this period you should bathe them regularly with uncooked oatmeal solution and they should b patted dry. Never rub with a towel as eruptions get infected. To prevent itching, cool Calamine lotion can be applied, acetaminophen can be given for fever and an antiallergic for itching.

Sometimes, antibiotics are given to prevent secondary bacterial infection. When the scabs fall the child should be kept under isolation as infection spreads by touching the blisters. Saliva, mucus, coughing and sneezing also can infect others who have never got a bout of chicken pox.

Trim your child’s nails so as to prevent itching, which in turn can lead to infecting the vesicles. Along with this, homeopathy is good to get rid of symptoms.

Sterilize the house

After the bout is over, sterilize the house with disinfectant so as to prevent other members from getting infected. Put toothbrushes, soaps, and combs into trash bins and discard the plates, spoons and other eating vessels. It’s a good idea to vacuum the house after cleaning.

This article was first published in Mompresso.

Cover image credit: Flickr

Editor’s note: In America, chicken pox is on the vaccination schedule and children don’t get chicken pox. In India, it is a parent’s choice and you are free to not opt for it, because chickenpox among kids is not dangerous. According to this article in Baby Center, the chicken pox vaccine “is a weakened form of the virus. So your child may develop chickenpox-like symptoms, but these will be very mild. There may also be some redness and pain. But, the vaccine also helps your child’s body to develop antibodies to fight off the virus and will effectively prevent your baby from developing chickenpox in the future. On the one hand, chickenpox is very common and if your baby gets it, she is not likely to get it again. Chickenpox in childhood does not cause very threatening symptoms but your child is likely to get fever and a very itchy rash. On the other hand, some doctors recommend the vaccine and also a booster dose between four and six years. This is especially recommended for girls, since they are at risk of catching chickenpox during pregnancy if they do not get it during childhood.”

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