The best prevention for chicken pox is to get your child vaccinated by the time he or she is a year old. This can then be followed up by a booster vaccination by the fourth birthday. This largely eliminates the chances of getting the virus except in rare occasions when your child comes into close contact with someone infected by the virus, contaminated surfaces or objects. Chickenpox is an airborne virus, highly contagious and can be spread through saliva, coughing, sneezing, mucus, contact with the body of the infected or fluid from the blisters before it scabs.
Chickenpox is not to be taken lightly in pregnancy. This is because a woman who is about 20 weeks pregnant and develops the virus is at a risk of complications. The baby is also at a risk of birth defects or other complications if the mother gets the virus before or after delivery. The virus can get to the baby through the placenta in pregnancy or breast milk during nursing.
There are a few conditions in your child that may seem like chickenpox such as dermatitis, insect bites or some other viral illnesses that can cause bumps or blisters. These conditions are never as serious as the chickenpox and you can tell them apart because the bumps never progress and will easily go away on their own.
Chickenpox may put your child at a risk of developing a skin condition known as shingles as he or she grows older, though it may be a mild case, especially if not vaccinated. Shingles occur, because after the recovery from chickenpox, the virus remains in the nervous system, though it is dormant. It may later reactivate to become shingles. Shingles is characterized by itching, rashes, red bumps, tingling, blisters or pain on parts of the body. Apart from shingles, there are other complications that can come from chicken pox such as: a bacterial skin infection, often from scratching or a lung infection evident with difficult breathing, cough and chest pain.
To give help or treatment to the child with chickenpox, do the following:
- Run cool or lukewarm baths for the child every other hour to give some comfort.
- When drying the body, avoid rubbing or brushing, rather pat.
- Apply calamine lotion on itchy areas
- You can also use oatmeal products as well as Benadryl to relieve itching
- If your child finds eating difficult, give him or her soft, cold and easy to swallow meals.
- Though difficult, try and keep the child from scratching so as to prevent the spread of the virus or cause other infections. You may want to trim the child’s fingernails.
- If your child has severely scratched the blisters, the sores is likely to have been infected by bacteria and your child may need antibiotics
- Do not give the child acidic meals or fluids
- With the doctor’s prescription, you can put pain relieving lotions on sore parts of the body, especially in the inner or private areas.
- Give the child acetaminophen regularly to relieve the pain from mouth blisters but you may want to check with the doctor first. Avoid aspirin completely
- Depending on the child’s age, the doctor may administer antiviral medicine, especially if he or she is at a risk of complications