Monday 4 April 2011

My Top Tips to Help You Cope with Chickenpox

Miss M's back was pretty covered, and then she had nothing on her legs!
We are just coming through the second bought of chickenpox in the house within a month - that is the beauty of twins! On the whole things went pretty well, so I thought I would share my top tips for helping your little one through chickenpox with the minimum of fuss.

  1. Keep your child cool, if they start to get hot they will feel more itchy.  I have a friend who swears by then being practically naked but I prefer to keep them clothed as it then makes it much harder for them to itch their skin.  Of course natural cotton or such is best.  Basically my girls stayed in their PJ's!
  2. Give a spoon of Piriton (or another anti-histamine) in the morning and at night before bed to keep the awful scratching at bay.
  3. If your child start to get too uncomfortable and hurts, offer them a tepid bath and gently sponge down their spots.  Remember not to use any bath product.  I know that some people advocate putting porridge in the bath - we did not try this!
  4. Pat them dry and apply either aqueous calamine or Eurax cream, both moisturise and help to stop the itching.
  5. We did not wash Miss E's hair for a week as she found this too uncomfortable with all the spots in there.  To be honest what is a week?  We did not fight about this, she looked greasy from all the cream we put on her neck but it was short lived. We also used a baby brush with very soft bristles so we did not scratch her scalp.
  6. If your child get spots in their throat they may not feel like eating. Make sure they stay hydrated by offering ice lollies, smoothies, milkshakes or anything else that is cool and offers hydration.
  7. Remember to offer pain relief as necessary and on the day or two when your little one is really bad you can offer alternate calpol and neurofen to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
  8. Distraction is probably the best remedy of all.  Keep your child busy, bake a cake, do some sticking, bounce on the trampoline. What ever they feel well enough to do, allow them to as it takes their mind off how uncomfortable they are and they are far less likely to scratch.
  9. Remember that every child is an individual, they will all have the illness in a different way. Look to your child for the clues of what they need to help them, it may just be as simple as a cuddle while watching a DVD. The chickenpox can zap them of their energy.
  10. One the spots have scabbed over and your child is no longer contagious it is temping to think they should be 100% fit and well again.  The chickenpox virus can really knock your child for six.  Miss M is now 18 days after her first spot appeared and she is still showing the signs of not being fully recovered.  She has been lethargic and generally more ratty and this has manifested as being willful and naughty.  I am having to remember that there is a reason for this behaviour.
  11. If your child get spots around their genital areas (and this seems to happen quite often) try to keep them nappy free (if they still wear one) as otherwise this just makes the area hot and painful.  The bath also comes in useful for soaking these areas to keep them irritation free.
Miss E's back, not so many spots, but how angry do they look?

Miss E's hair was full of large spots
Poor old Miss M got covered on her face

But hardly anything on Miss M's tummy
As you can see from the photos of my two, chickenpox can look very different on each child. At first the spots can seem small and harmless and then within a day or two they expand, intensify, form blisters, break, can look like pox holes and start to scab over.

Miss E is over 30 days since she had her first spot and she still has red spots marking her body.  For a child who did not scratch at all, it sadly looks as if she will scar, so however careful you are you may not be able to avoid some marking, I just thank God she has a clear face.

Keep smiling, best to get it out the way while they are young!