Chicken Pox is one of those common illnesses which most of us will get at some point in our lives (unless your child had had the Chicken Pox vaccination), and while most get this at a young age and while still at school there is no set age when Chicken Pox will strike.
Emmy got it when I was pregnant with Harry, she was around 2 and a half and picked it up at the same time as the little boy I was Nannying for at the time. Harry was a similar age when he got it however my Dad only picked it up a few years ago.
There are also varying forms from a mild dose with only a few spots to extreme cases where your whole body is covered – Emmy had a medium dose, she was covered but they didn’t bother her too much and mainly were around her torso, arms, legs and face Harry on the other hand had a very bad dose and not only had them all over his body but also inside his eyelids, in his mouth, over his tongue and other places you really wouldn’t want these itchy spots to be.
Chicken Pox usually gets better by itself within a week without needing to see a GP however as will all illnesses if your child gets worse or if you are unsure if it is Chicken Pox it’s always better to get checked out – if the spots look infected, you can’t control your child’s temperature or they are dehydrated then you should definitely visit a doctor – tell the receptionist that it could be Chicken Pox and they will be able to arrange an appointment time which limits the risk of cross-contamination of other patients.
Signs of Chicken Pox
- Chicken Pox starts with red spots which can appear anywhere on the body
- The spots fill with fluid and look like small blisters, they may spread or stay in a small area. You’ll generally know it’s Chicken Pox as these will spread over the body area in days (you could put your child to be with a few spots and be a little unsure but by morning if it’s Chicken Pox there will be many more.
- After a few days the spots will scab over
Other symptoms can include:
- A high temperature
- Aches, pains and generally feeling unwell
- Loss of appetite
Facts about Chicken Pox
Chickenpox is infectious from 2 days before the spots appear until they’ve crusted over, this is usually 5 days after they first appeared. Children will need to be kept off school/nursery and away from other children/adults as it is contagious.
It can take 1 to 3 weeks from the time you were exposed to chickenpox for the spots to start appearing.
Although not very common it is possible to get Chicken Pox more than once.
You can’t catch shingles from someone with chickenpox. You can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you haven’t had chickenpox before.
Here are my Top Tips for helping your Child to cope with Chicken Pox
- Keep your child cool, if they start to get hot they will feel more itchy, I dressed mine in thin cotton Pyjama’s when they have Chicken Pox so it was harder for then to gain access to their spots to itch them. Cool/thin clothes are best to keep them in.
- If your child get spots around their genital areas try to keep them nappy free (if they still wear one) as otherwise this just makes the area hot and painful – if the weather is nice outdoor play may help which nappy free (and it could save your carpets too).
- Keep their pain and temperature at bay with Calpol or Paracetamol. NEVER give Ibuprofen!
- Give a spoon of Piriton (or another anti-histamine) in the morning and at night before bed to help relieve the itching.
- Tepid baths and gently sponge down their spots can help to relieve the uncomfortableness and some of the itching. Remember not to use any bath product such as bubble bath as this can irate the spots/scabs. I found Oat baths helped to dry out some of the spots – put some into a sock or old pair of tight, tie it up and then put it into the bath otherwise you’ll be fishing out soggy oats from the plug in a bid not to block the drain!
- Pat them dry and apply a soothing cream to help stop the itching: Calamine, Eurax or Care ViraSoothe all help to moisturise. I used ViraSoothe with Emmy and Harry as I didn’t like applying the white Calamine and it just ended up everywhere but this came in a gel or spray for so was easier to apply and had a cooling and soothing effect (I even stored it in the fridge to give instant relieve from the itching)
- Put socks on your child’s hands at night to stop them from scratching and keep their nails short.
- Use a baby brush with very soft bristles to avoid hurting your child’s scalp (Yes, they will have spots there too)
- If your child get spots in their throat or on their tongue they may not feel like eating. Make sure they stay hydrated – you could offer ice lollies, smoothies, milkshakes or anything else that is cool and offers hydration.
- Distraction. This is what I found key to aiding their recovery. When they were busy they weren’t scratching and it helped to take their minds off feeling poorly. Things you could try are: Baking cakes or biscuits, sticking, painting or colouring, bounce on the trampoline, have a tea party or even make a den. If the weather is nice why not spend time in the garden as it will take your mind off of being housebound.
- Remember that every child is individual, some may not get poorly with it at all while others may really suffer – take cues from your child – being there for them is what they need from you so grab a book and read a story, snuggle up and watch a movie – the housework can wait a day or two, besides get some rest with them as you never know if they’ll have you up all night due to the itching so make the most of it.
- Once the spots have scabbed over and your child is no longer contagious it’s temping to think they are 100% fit and well again. Chicken Pox can knock your child for six so take is slow for a few days.
“I was compensated for my time to write this post, however all views are my own.”
Other posts in our Top Tips from a Former Nanny series can be found here.