• Our Updated Guide to the Chickenpox

    How to Handle a Case of the Chickenpox

    For many children, the chickenpox represents a first brush with illness. Some parents view it as a rite of passage, a trial all kids have to go through. The chickenpox vaccine is slowly changing this notion. If your child hasn’t gotten the disease yet, this vaccine is something you may want to talk to your doctor about. The vaccine has no known complications and at worst can lead to a mild case of the disease.

    Still, some parents choose to let their children develop immunity the old fashioned way, by contracting the disease, because the vaccine hasn’t been around long enough to determine long-term effectiveness. Here’s how to make a bout with chickenpox bearable for your little one.

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    Remedies

    Chickenpox usually lasts 5-10 days and is comprised of flu-like symptoms and telltale red bumps that appear throughout the body. It’s highly contagious so make sure your child stays hydrated. Chances are they won’t be hungry, but try to feed them light, easily digestible foods.

    Your little one will probably want to scratch the itchy welts on their bodies, which can lead to scars and potentially serious infections. Trim their fingernails to curb this behavior. Cold baths with baking soda can provide relief from the itch and discomfort. Calamine lotion can also provide temporary relief. If your child is too young or simply cannot resist the urge to scratch, you may need to put mittens on them.

    Know When to Call a Doctor

    Most cases of chickenpox can be treated at home, but feel free to consult your family physician by phone as needed. In rare cases, however, complications can occur. Bumps or sores in or around the eyes, bacterially infected sores, the sudden onset of respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath and severe coughing, or a fever above 103 degrees are all symptoms that will require temporary hospitalization. Complications from chickenpox remain rare, but it helps to know what to look for just in case.

    Typically the flu-like symptoms of chickenpox will abate first, followed a few days later by the dermatological ones. Make sure your child rests and keep them out of school until all their symptoms are gone. Before your little one knows it, the chickenpox will be just a memory.

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