By: REBECCA MUTHONI
Chicken pox is an extremely infectious illness. Most children develop it when they are still very young. It is caused by varicella-zoster virus, and just like other illnesses caused by a virus, such as flu, chicken pox does not have a cure, but the illness goes away on its own.
Most children who develop chicken pox and are healthy, only require home treatment to manage the symptoms. Chicken pox is usually a mild disease, though its symptoms can be of great discomfort, particularly to a young child.
Common symptoms include:
Red rash Itchy spots that eventually become fluid-filled blisters. Spots may appear anywhere on the body, such as on the face, scalp, at the back of the ears, on the belly, chest, arms, and legs. They can also be inside the mouth or ears.
Flu-like symptoms might occur before the rash. These include fever, muscle-ache, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of being unwell.
There is no specific treatment for chicken pox, however, there are remedies that can help ease symptoms and make the child feel less irritable.
The rash associated with chicken pox can be really irritating. Discourage your child from scratching the blisters because this can cause infection and scars. To prevent scratching, keep your child’s fingernails short and clean, and put gloves on his hands when he is asleep.
Calamine lotion helps, so apply it all over the affected areas. It has a soothing and cooling effect that helps relieve itching.
Sweat causes lots of irritation, therefore dress your child in smooth, light, and loose-fitting clothes. Clothes made from cotton are preferable, since they absorb sweat and keep the skin from getting irritated.
If your child has chicken pox, he is likely to develop fever as the body fights off the virus.
Dress him in light and cool clothes to make him as comfortable as possible.
Give paracetamol to bring the fever down. It also helps relieve body aches and pain.
Signs that a child may be dehydrated include drowsiness and infrequent urination or fewer wet diapers. To avoid dehydration, give him plenty of clean water and other fluids such as soups and light porridge. If he breastfeeds, nurse him more.
If your child has chicken pox, he will probably be unable to feed well, due to the blisters in his mouth and throat. In such a case, a bland diet is more appropriate to avoid irritation.
This means you should avoid foods that are too hot, salty, acidic, spicy, or crunchy, since they can burn or burst the blisters. It is also best to give small and regular meals. Also try to diversify the meals you serve him to improve his appetite.
Ensure that he gets adequate sleep and rest. Resting allows the body enough time to fight the virus.
These remedies should help your child get better without the intervention of a doctor, however, in some children, more serious symptoms might occur.
Seek medical help immediately if he complains of chest pain or breathing difficulties, shows signs of dehydration, or the skin near the blisters appears red and painful, a sign of infection.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION