Chickenpox or Varicella is a common illness among kids characterized by having itchy rashes or spots all over the body. It is usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms. It is caused by a virus called varicella-zoster. This illness can go away without any medical treatment but since it's highly contagious, infected children are advised to stay at home until they fully recover.
Getting a varicella vaccine can protect a child from chickenpox. It's given between 12 to 15 months. A booster (follow-up vaccination) is recommended for four to six years old. Those who are 13 years old and above who have never had chickenpox before or have never received the vaccine should get two doses of it at least one month apart.
A person can only have one episode of chickenpox but it can emerge as a different skin eruption called shingles later in life.
Since chickenpox brings red skin rashes that are very itchy, one of the foremost treatments is for itch control. Luckily, this can be accomplished at home. In fact, most of the treatments for chickenpox revolve around home remedies. Of course, before anyone can take those home remedies, it's a must to see the doctor first to discuss the necessary steps in avoiding the spread of the virus.
Apart from advising the patient to stay at home to rest, the doctor will also forbid scratching the rashes as this may cause skin infections and scars.
- oatmeal and baking Soda Bath
One thing to do to relieve the itch is to take an oatmeal or baking soda bath. Add oatmeal or baking soda to bath water.
- cool compress
Another effective way is to apply cool compress on the itchy areas. This may be done as often as necessary. This also tones down the swelling that may accompany the rash.
- anti itch lotions
Apply a bit of calamine lotion or any other perfume-free anti itch lotion on the rashes.
- finger nails
It's also a good idea to trim the fingernails or cover the hands with mittens to prevent scratching.
If the itchiness persists, antihistamines may be taken. Check with the doctor first before taking in any antihistamines.
Allow Fever To Kill Germs
Contrary to popular belief, fever is not an illness, it is a sign of infection. When a child or adult has chickenpox, he/she would have a high temperature to kill the bacteria or viruses that cause the illness. Fever medications should not be taken immediately as this will inhibit this natural process. However, if a person's fever lasts for more than 48 hours, it's a must to call the doctor right away. Use of over-the-counter medications and drinking cool liquids may help lower the temperature.
Prevent the Spread of Infection
As mentioned above, chickenpox can easily be spread. Having close contact with someone who has chickenpox may expose you to the virus that will give you this illness. A person infected with chickenpox should avoid close contact with other people to prevent the spread of the virus. A child who has chickenpox should not be allowed to go out or to school until all the rashes have dried and the scabs have fallen off.