What is Chicken Pox?
Chicken pox is a common childhood illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It is characterized by a rash of itchy blister-like spots that can appear all over the body, often accompanied with flu-like symptoms.
Usually a person has only one episode of chickenpox in their life, but the virus can lie dormant within the body and cause a different type of skin eruption later in life, known as shingles (or herpes zoster).
Chicken pox rash symptoms…
A red, itchy skin rash usually appearing on the abdomen, back and face first (but can end up all over including the scalp, mouth, nose, ears, and genitals). The spots appear in crops over 2 to 4 days.
The rash initially looks like insect bites or small pimples, which develop into fluid-filled blisters. When the blister wall breaks, the sores will finally crust over to become scabs.
Other chicken pox symptoms can include…
Cold-like symptoms or feeling slightly unwell a day or 2 before the rash appears e.g.
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Mild headache
- Moderate fever
Chicken pox is usually a mild illness, but…
It can affect some infants, teens, adults, and people with weak immune systems more severely. In rare cases there can be serious complications such as pneumonia or problems with the kidney, heart and nervous system.
If the child/person has other symptoms as well, such as high fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, severe headache, sensitivity to light or is drowsy or hard to wake – seek urgent medical attention.
How contagiousness is chicken pox?
Chicken pox is very contagious – it is most infection from around 2 days before the rash appears until after all the blisters have crusted over (and no new sores develop). This usually takes about 1 week.
A child with chicken pox should be kept out of school or daycare/kindy until all the blisters have dried and scabbed over.
They should also be kept away from pregnant women and anyone with immune system problems.
How is chicken pox spread?
The chicken pox virus is spread:
1. Through the air by infected people when they sneeze or cough. So..
- Always turn away from others and use tissues when you cough or sneeze
- Always wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
2. Through touching the blisters and then touching objects or other people. So...
- Always wash your hands often, especially if you’re the caregiver of a child with chickenpox – and make sure they do the same.
Relieving the itchiness and discomfort of chickenpox...
- Use cool, wet compresses or lukewarm baths every 3 to 4 hours for the first few days. Always pat dry.
- If there are sores in the mouth, keep foods cool, soft, and avoid anything acidic or salty
- Discourage scratching where possible and trim fingernails to avoid infection
Natural, topical products to ease the itchiness of chicken pox...
Greenridge Chickweed Gel - cooling and soothing, as well as antiseptic and anti-bacterial
Natural products to boost little immune systems...
To help treat a virus faster the following products may assist:
Comvita Olive leaf liquid - Everyday antioxidant support
Sambucus Original Syrup - Black Elderberry (the active herb in this formula) is known as one of the best preventatives against the advance of influenza, viral infections and the ill effects of a cold. This also comes in a specific formula for children.
Gaiakids Echinacea Goldenseal - as well as taken internally, these herbal drops can also be used as an antiseptic wash for the skin
Priobiotics - 70% of the immune system is situated in the intestinal wall so a probiotic is vital to help boost the immune system in getting over a virus faster. For children 3 months and over there is the Inner Health For Kids Powder or for children over 2 years old there is also the Inner Health Immune Booster.