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Darn itchy chicken pox!

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:41 / Updated on May 16, 2019 at 19:32

Chicken pox eventually afflicts most children. Although the first symptoms that appear often are mild fever and nasal congestion, the telltale signs of chicken pox will always be an itchy rash of red bumps and blisters. This viral illness lasts roughly two weeks and rarely causes complications. However, it can be more severe in older children and adult cases.

Even though chicken pox is not always accompanied by a high fever, it is important to keep a close eye on a person afflicted by it. If they have a fever, you need to try to lower their body temperature, not only to make them more comfortable, but also because perspiration actually exacerbates itchiness. If a child has a fever, dress him or her lightly and remove all thick blankets from the bed, covering the body with a single bed sheet instead. The room temperature should never exceed 20°C. You can administer acetaminophen or ibuprofen to young children to relieve their fever. As dosage varies according to the age and weight of a child, you should always consult your pharmacist to ensure the dose is the correct one for you child.

The presence of red bumps should not prevent the patient from taking lukewarm baths. Adding baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal to the bath water will help alleviate the rash. However, it is very important not to remain in the bath for too long and to dry the skin thoroughly, without rubbing. Of course, you must also drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration.

To help prevent skin damage caused by scratching and prevent nasty little scars, little children’s nails should be kept short. You can also try to have them wear mittens, but that is pretty tricky and will most likely be downright refused …you can always give it a try! Applying calamine lotion to the skin will also help soothe itchiness.

If your child is not yet potty trained, you must change his or her diaper more often to prevent bumps and blisters on the buttocks and upper thighs from remaining in a soiled diaper for too long.

In Quebec, the chicken pox vaccine is included in the regular vaccination calendar for one-year-olds. It is a simple and effective way to prevent or reduce the intensity of a chicken pox episode, thereby helping to avoid serious complications.

You must consult a physician if cutaneous eruptions reach the eye; if skin becomes very red, hot or tender, as this might be caused by a secondary bacterial infection; if the person shows signs of confusion, increased heartbeat and shortness of breath, tremors, high fever or vomiting. Newborns, adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risks for complications due to chicken pox. These people should immediately consult a physician upon contracting this virus.

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