Last week, 9 days ago exactly (to give you a timeframe to work by) Amelia was getting undressed for her bath and said "look at my spots mummy". There was maybe 3/4 little red spots on her chest and a couple more on her back. She wasn't scratching, had not been unwell in the days leading up to the spots appearing or behaving out of the norm, I'm saying this, because some kids may be unwell with cold like symptoms/fatigue/crying/loss of appetite in the days leading up to the spots appearing.
I'm writing this post as I didn't know if they were Chicken Pox or not, and spent a lot of time asking other parents how they treated their kids to ease the symptoms. I hope that this collection of advice that I took on board from parents that have been through it before will guide you in those first few days when they are unwell and itchy, how many days she symptomatic and how we treated her.
Firstly, What is chicken pox or "The Chicken Nuggets" as Amelia called them in those first few days.?Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness that most children catch at some point.It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.Some children have only a few spots, but in others they can cover the entire body. The spots are most likely to appear on the face, ears and scalp, under the arms, on the chest and stomach and on the arms and legs.
Chickenpox (medically known as varicella) is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus. It's spread quickly and easily through the coughs and sneezes of someone who is infected. This disease can spread through air or contact with saliva, mucus, or fluid from blisters of an infected individual. The infected person is contagious from a day or two before the rashes appear, until the time when all the blisters have dried.
It usually takes 10-21 days for the symptoms to develop after being exposed to the virus. The most common symptoms are an itchy rash and red spots or blisters all over the body. If your child has chickenpox, try to keep them away from public areas to avoid contact with people who have not had it, especially nursery,playgrounds, people who are at risk of serious problems, such as newborn babies, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system (for example, people having cancer treatment or taking steroid tablets). We just battened down the hatches and stayed in until the pox had dried over.
Chickenpox is most common in children under 10. In fact, chickenpox is so common in childhood that 90% of adults are immune to the condition because they've had it before. Children usually catch chickenpox in winter and spring, particularly between March and May. For most children, chickenpox is a mild illness that gets better on its own.But some children can become more seriously ill with chickenpox. They need to see a doctor. Contact your GP straight away if your child develops any abnormal symptoms, for example:
<•if the blisters on their skin become infected •if your child has a pain in their chest or has difficulty breathing.
Once you have had chickenpox, you usually develop antibodies to the infection and become immune to catching it again. However, the virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella virus, remains dormant (inactive) in your body's nerve tissues and can return later in life as an illness called shingles. It is possible to catch chickenpox from someone with shingles, but not the other way around. There is a chickenpox vaccine but it is not part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule. You have to pay, and two separate vaccine es are recommended.The chickenpox vaccine contains a small amount of the live weakened varicella zoster virus. The vaccine causes your immune system to produce antibodies that will help protect against chickenpox.It has been shown that 9 out of 10 children vaccinated with a single dose will develop immunity against chickenpox. A two-dose schedule is now recommended for all, as it gives a better immune response. Three-quarters of teenagers and adults who are vaccinated with two doses will develop immunity against chickenpox.Speak with your GP Practice Nurse for more information on the vaccine.
And Lastly….the question everyone wants answered. Can you get Chicken Pox Twice? Yes, you can! In a study, up to 13% (around one in eight) of people diagnosed with chickenpox reported that they had had the condition before.Usually, you develop antibodies to the infection first-time round, and become immune to catching it again.It seems that some people simply don't develop the antibodies needed to protect them against re-infection.But experts generally agree that if you've had chickenpox once before, you're unlikely to have it again.
So How Did We Manage?
I gave Amelia Calpol on the night the spots appeared, still unsure were they the real deal or not. 12 hours later when she woke up, the spots have multiplied and some had started to form the tell tale blisters. This was Day 2. Remember this is so frightening for young children. Talk it down, distract and tell them it's ok that mummy had them too when she was small. Reassurance and lots of cuddles are needed.She was in great form, no temperature, not scratching much, and only that I had to protect other children from her, she would have been able to go about the day as normal. The spots appeared on her head, 6 on her face, some behind the ears, neck, 2 on both arms, her back was really covered in them and just a couple on her legs.
The chicken pox that effected her the most were around her groin and front bum. They drove her mad, I was constantly watching her to make sure she wasn't scratching and going to the toilet stung. I gave her a pack of wet wipes to use for the toilet to ease the burning/itching sensation. That day she has 4 baths, to relieve the pain and itch and to be honest, to pass an hour of the day. Staying inside all day is hard work, there's only so many jigsaws,colouring,baking and TV even a toddler can cope with. I set the iPad up in the bathroom and let her play and have a good soak.
What we used in the baths:
2 Tablespoons of Bicarbonate Soda Porridge Oats tied into a Muslin cloth, let it soak in the bath. Both can help control the itchiness and irritation from chickenpox.
After the bath I applied Calamine Lotion using a cotton pad. I bought a chicken pox relieveing gel in the pharmacy, but she got the best relief from the Calamine Lotion. Grant it, she couldn't bare the smell, but it worked, and it's what was used on all of us as kids.
What drugs did I use?
Calpol/paracetamol every 4 hrs during the day
Antihistamines for the itch. Piriton syrup is only available on prescription in Ireland. It's available OTC in NI/U.K. Instead I used Zirteck during the day as per instructions. At night I gave her Phenergen. Phenergen is a brilliant antihistamine, but can make children very drowsy. This is why I only used it at night, I only gave half the recommended dose, and it worked. She was able to sleep through the night. She did wet the bed both nights, Night 2/3 because she was in such a deep sleep.
Day 3: This was our worst day. The spots and blisters had all surfaced and the only way to describe how it effected her is that she was completely floored. It made me realise how quickly children can go downhill. That day cstOnsisteder of more baths, napping in the sofa, only wanting to eat cold snacks foods and she was very thirsty from the antihistamines.
Day 4: Some of the spots had started to scab over and I knew we were coming out of the worst of it. I let her go for a scoot around our estate that morning to get some fresh air, knowing all the kids would be at school.
Day 5: Most had scabbed over and she was back on form. Eating as usual and not as tired.
Im skipping on to yesterday Day 8. All spots had scabbed over and she was pestering me to go back to school, so confident that she was no longer I felt toots she went back, beyond happy.
The few spots she had on her face are just little marks now. I've a Vit E oil that I massage into these to prevent scarring.
Hope this has has helped even 1 of you and best of luck. It's always seems a lot worse in those initial few days, especially when they look and feel unwell. No sign of Harry getting them yet, I know a lot of you have asked me that….but as I said above, the incubation period is anything up to 21 days….so they could be brewing away!
T, A & H xxxxxx