Chickenpox in children-Signs Symptoms & treatment
signs and symptoms of chickenpox
Chickenpox usually starts without the classic rash, with a fever, sore throat, headache, or stomachache. These signs and symptoms may last for a few days, with the fever in the 101°to102°F (38.3°–38.8°C) range.
The red, itchy skin rash starts typically on the belly or back and face. Then it increases to almost everywhere else on the body, including the arms, legs, scalp, mouth, and genitals.
The rash starts as many small red bumps that look like insect bites or pimples. They appear in gradual waves over 2 to 4 days, then eventually develop into thin-walled blisters filled with some fluid. The blister walls break, leaving open wounds, which eventually crust over to become dry, brown scabs.
All three stages of the chickenpox rash (blisters, red bumps, and scabs) appear on the body at the same time. The rash may grow and spread wider or be more severe in children who have weak immune systems or skin disorders like eczema.
What Causes Chickenpox?
The chickenpox virus is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). This virus further can cause a painful skin rash known as shingles (herpes zoster) later in life. After someone has had chickenpox, the virus continues to stay dormant (ie resting) in the nervous system for the rest of their life. The virus can become active again("wake up") later as shingles.
Children who are vaccinated against chickenpox are much less expected to develop shingles when they get older.
Is Chickenpox Contagious?
Chickenpox is very contagious. Most kids with an infected sibling also will get it (if they haven't already had the infection or the vaccine), showing symptoms around 2 weeks after the first child does.
Someone with chickenpox can spread the virus:
- through droplets in the air by sneezing or coughing
- in their saliva (spit), mucus, or fluid from the blisters
The chickenpox virus is very contagious from about 2 days before the rash starts till all the blisters are crusted over.
a person with shingles can spread chickenpox (but not shingles) to somebody who hasn't had chickenpox or the vaccine.
Because chickenpox is so infectious, a child who has it should stay home and relax until the rash is gone and all the blisters have dried. This normally takes about 1 week. If you're uncertain about whether your child is ready to return to school, ask your doctor.
What Problems Can Happen?
Some people are more at risk for complexities from chickenpox, including:
- pregnant women
- patients with leukaemia
- newborns born to mothers who had chickenpox
- kids receiving medicines that repress the immune system
- anyone with immune system issues
If they are exposed to the chickenpox virus, they might be given a medicine (zoster immune globulin) to make the ailment less severe.
Can Chickenpox Be Prevented?
Yes. several people who get the chickenpox vaccine will not catch chickenpox. Doctors advise that kids get the chickenpox vaccine as:
- a first shot vaccine when they're 12–15 months old
- a booster vaccine shot when they're 4–6 years old
People 13 years of age or older who have never had chickenpox and are not vaccinated should receive two doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart.
Children who have had chickenpox do not need the vaccine — they normally have lifelong protection against the illness.
How Is Chickenpox Diagnosed?
Doctors normally can diagnose chickenpox by looking at the telltale rash.
Call your doctor or pharmacist if you think that your child has chickenpox. The physician can guide you in watching for any complications and in determining medicine to relieve itching.
If you take your baby to the doctor, let the staff know ahead of time that your child might have chickenpox. It is very important not to expose other children in the office — for some of the kids, a chickenpox infection could cause severe complications.
How Is Chickenpox Treated?
A virus causes chickenpox, so even good antibiotics can't treat it. However, antibiotics are required if bacteria infect the sores. This can happen when children scratch and pick at the blisters.
An antiviral medicine may be prescribed for people with chickenpox who are at danger for complications. The depends on the:
- child's age and health
- the extent of the infection
- timing of the treatment
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if the medicine is okay for your kid.
How Can you Help your Child Feel Better after contracting chickenpox?
To help relieve the discomfort and itchiness of chickenpox:
Use cool wet compresses or give kid baths in lukewarm water every 3 to 4 hours for the first few days. Oatmeal bath products, accessible at supermarkets and drugstores, can help to relieve itching. (Baths don't spread the rash.)
- Pat (don't rub) the body dry.
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor about pain-relieving creams to apply to sores in the genital area.
- Put calamine cream on itchy areas (but do not use it on the face, particularly near the eyes).
- Ask the doctor about using an over-the-counter medicine to take by mouth for itching.
To prevent scratching:
- Put gloves or mittens on your child's hands to avoid scratching during sleep.
- Trim fingernails and keep them fresh and clean.
If the kid has blisters in the mouth:
- Give cold, soft, bland foods since chickenpox in the mouth can make it hard to drink or eat. Avoid anything salty or acidic, like orange juice or pretzels.
- Give your child acetaminophen to help in relieving pain.
Never give aspirin to kids with chickenpox. It can lead to a severe illness called Reye syndrome.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Most chickenpox infections don't require special medical treatment. However, sometimes, problems can happen. Call the doctor if your child:
- has a high fever that lasts for more than 4 days
- has a relentless cough or trouble breathing
- has a stretch of rash that leaks pus (with thick, yellowish fluid) or becomes red, swollen, warm, or sore
- has a severe headache
- is unusually drowsy or has trouble waking up
- has difficulty walking
- has trouble looking at bright lights
- seems confused
- is vomiting
- looks very ill
- has a stiff neck