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Chicken Pox

My baby has  itchy rash of spots that look like blisters  all over his body . Could it be chicken pox ?


It could be chicken pox. Chicken pox  is also known as varicella . It is a very contagious viral disease common among children particularly below the age of 12. The itchy rash  starts out as small red bumps. They quickly change into clear, fluid-filled blisters and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Life long immunity follows after one develops the disease. Sometimes though, latent virus of chicken pox lives in an infected individual and this may become active in later years and cause shingles.


How did my baby get chicken pox ?


Chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).  You can get the virus by touching fluid from a chicken pox blister or when an infected person sneezes or coughs around you. An infected person becomes contagious 1 to 2 days before their blisters appear and may remain contagious until virus crust over.


Apart from the rash, what other symptoms will my child experience ?


Other symptoms of chicken pox apart from the rash includes


  • fever
  • headache
  • abdominal pain
  • mild cough
  • sore throat


What are the characteristics of chicken pox rash ?


The rash usually develops 10 to 21 days after infection with the virus. The child develops small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters or red spots on the skin which usually appear on face, abdomen and back . These  blister walls break, leaving open sores, which finally crust over to become dry scabs.New blisters may however form in mouth,  vagina, and on the eyelids.


How dangerous is chicken pox ?


Chicken pox can present complications such as


  • skin infections either caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus
  • pneumonia
  • myocarditis
  • Reyes syndrome when you give the child aspirin
  • neurological complications  such as  acute cerebellar ataxia
  • adult may develop  encephalitis but this is rare


I  am pregnant. What is the effect of chicken pox on me or my baby ?


Pregnant women with chicken pox may have babies with low birth weight and birth defects such as eye abnormalities, brain structural abnormalities resulting in mental retardation or  limb abnormalities.  If you develop chicken pox during the last week of pregnancy, your newborn can develop life-threatening infections. NOTE that the chicken pox vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women.


How can I protect my baby from chicken pox ?


The best way to prevent your baby from chicken pox is by getting him immunized with the  chicken pox vaccine.The first between ages 12 and 15 months and the second between ages 4 and 6 years.


How can I care for my baby with chicken pox ?


Give your baby lukewarm baths using little soap and rinse thoroughly


Avoid scratching  the itchy areas to prevent infection


Treat fever with acetaminophen (for  example, Tylenol).


You have to keep your baby home from daycare until all the sores have crusted over to prevent him from spreading the disease .


If itching is really making baby uncomfortable , ask your pediatrician about  over-the-counter children’s antihistamine to help reduce the itching.


Avoid excessive heat exposure.


Keep your baby’s nails short to prevent scratching of the sores that may slow down the healing process. Scratching can also cause infection which may leave scars on the skin.


You can also give your baby a cool bath every three to four hours. Sprinkle baking soda or colloidal oatmeal (made specifically for the bath) into the water for added relief. After bathing , put calamine lotion on the itchy spots.

Content Sources

Chickenpox (Varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC. Accessed June 13, 2014
Chicken pox . The Nemours Foundation. Accessed June 13, 2014
Chicken pox . National Library of Medicine. Accessed June 13, 2014

September 17, 2019 | 5:01 30    By oohs N coos    

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