Chickenpox in Children - Causes, Precautions, Prevention and Treatment - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India
Health Education

Treating Chickenpox in Children

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 15 Jul 2014 - 17:23.

Chicken Pox

Chickenpox typically presents itself as an itchy rash that starts as small red bumps. These bumps soon change into thin-walled blisters with water like fluid inside on a pinkish base. These pink colored blisters look like dew drops on a rose petal. These blisters then develop into sores which finally become dry crusts of a brownish color in a span of three to four days.

New crops of rashes appear alternating with the process of drying into brownish crusts. The child has a tendency to scratch the rash because of intense itching, and can get worse if it occurs during summer. An infant with these rashes on the skin presents himself/herself with tiredness, lethargy and feverish symptoms.

Causes: The causative agent for chickenpox is a virus called Varicella Zoster virus. This virus passes from person to person with effortless ease. The virus travels through touch of a person suffering from chicken pox. It mostly travels through droplets when the virus is released through sneezing, coughing or even breathing out.

Majority of the children acquire antibodies against the virus while still in the mother’s womb. Therefore it is unlikely for a child to come down with this illness during the first year of their lives. Those who show a tendency will have a very mild attack.

Observe caution: Chickenpox is more of a nuisance than a real threat. The nuisance lies in severe uncontrollable itching. However, if the child has a very weak immune system from chronic illnesses like leukemia or have been on steroids for ailments like asthma, chicken pox infection, it can pose grave complications like pneumonia or encephalitis (Brain fever). In such cases you should call the pediatrician at the very first sign of chickenpox. Even if the baby has a mere exposure to the disease without actually contracting it, the child has to be shown to a pediatrician.

Preventive measures like administering varicella zoster immune globulin or the varicella vaccine can be effective only when given shortly after the exposure.

On very rare occasions even healthy children can develop serious complications from an attack of chickenpox. To avoid such calamitous situations always call for the doctor, if you notice that the child appears more sickly than expected, develops a fever after the first few days or if you notice that the skin around the pox gets inflamed and painful.

Pregnant ladies who never had an attack of chickenpox should ask their attending gynecologists about what precautions they should take and what to do if exposed to this infection.

A notable improvement in the prevention of chicken pox is the discovery of a vaccine in the year 1995 and researchers and Drug authorities now recommend a shot for any child over 12 months if the child did not already suffer from the disease. However, this vaccine may not be recommended in children with a weakened immunity system or when the child is undergoing any chemotherapy.

The vaccine causes very few side effects in healthy children. At the most 10 to 30 percent children may fail to get immunized. However, the good point in such cases of failures is that even if the child gets chicken pox it will be of a very mild nature and may not even develop a rash.

Precautions:

  • Keep the child in the house and avoid sending to the day care for at least one week. The idea is to give the baby homely atmosphere and time to recuperate besides avoiding spread of the disease to others.
  • Chicken Pox is most contagious 2 to 3 days before the rash appears and the mothers may not be even aware of such a situation till the rash actually erupts. Therefore alert mothers will always notice other factors like sneezing, cold, lack of activity and knowledge of chicken pox in the neighborhood.
  • As the child recuperates the only thing which the child will appreciate is comfort of a cool room and control of itching. This can be achieved by giving a cool bath every three to four hours mixing the water with some baking soda. After gentle toweling of the baby an application of Calamine lotion liberally over the rashes will give a cooling effect and the child feels very comfortable.
     
  • Though troublesome, try to cut the baby’s nails short to prevent scratching her sores. Scratching the scores will slow down healing process

One golden rule to remember is not to administer Aspirin to your child, or for that fact to anyone under 20 years when dealing with an episode of chickenpox. If you don’t follow this advice you always stand a chance and risk of Reye’s Syndrome that can be deadly.

Lot of claims have been made about the use of a drug called acyclovir. However, experienced doctors believe that it neither relieves itching nor prevents complication.  For children with known weak immune system, acyclovir may prove crucial

*Disclaimer
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.