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How to Care for a Child with Chicken Pox


Caused by varicella-zoster virus, chickenpox is a contagious infection that is most common to children below 12 years of age. The disease starts with a fever and slight headache followed by the appearance of rashes that eventually turn into small and itchy blisters.

Although the illness is considered by many to be mild, infected children may find dealing with the itch to be very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for the illness and it is usually not treated. Thus, the challenge now for the parents of children infected with chickenpox is helping them to feel comfortable. And here are ways to do so.

Control Temperature

Fever is chickenpox's major symptom. It is therefore important to closely monitor the child's temperature.

Give the infected child acetaminophen will to reduce the fever and assuage headaches and pains. Be sure to give the correct dosage which should be according to the child's age. In relation to this, parents should never offer their kids aspirin. Chickenpox combined with aspirin has been associated with a high risk of Reye's syndrome; a rare condition that harms the liver and the brain.

Using a cool compress will also help to reduce body temperature.

Reduce Itch

The itchy feeling brought by chickenpox is one of the infected child's biggest problems. Reducing this will make them feel better. To relieve the itch, bathe the child with water mixed with a small amount of oatmeal and/or sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda) every three hours. Parents can also apply calamine lotion to the child's skin or give an antihistamine to alleviate the itch (be sure to use in moderation since regular use of antihistamines can make children feel edgy).

It is also advised to encourage children not to scratch as this will just worsen the situation. If doing this is impossible for the child, keep their fingernails short to prevent deep scratching which may leave wounds and scars.

Address Mouth Sores

When blisters are also in the child's mouth, it is important to pay close attention to the food and drinks you serve them. Do not give them anything that has a lot of acid (i.e. orange or apple juice) as this will just worsen their pain. If possible, apply an ointment to reduce the pain.

The use of saltwater gargle will also help soothe the mouth's soreness.

 Give Plenty of Water

 Making sure that the child drinks enough water will not just keep them hydrated but will also help in reducing their pain and eventually lead to their fast recovery.

If none of these methods seem to make your children feel better (i.e. fever lasting longer than two days, swelling lumps), it is best to bring them to your doctor for a check-up.  

Chickenpox may be a common disease that is not life threatening, however, it still requires proper care. Parents who know how to handle chickenpox will help their children feel more comfortable as it runs its course.

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