As we are in the middle of a month (yup, month) of chicken pox, I thought it might be useful to share what we’ve been doing to try and help relieve the symptoms for our little ones.
Chicken pox is described as a highly contagious disease caused by an initial infection with varicella zoster virus. The disease presents itself in a characteristic skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters, which eventually scab over. It is also known as varicella.
The rash comes in three stages:
Chickenpox is highly contagious 1-2 days before the spots appear all the way through to when the last scab comes off.
Chicken pox is seen to be a mild childhood illness and not one we vaccinate against here in the UK. I didn’t even know that was an option until recently. I wouldn’t have ever thought about vaccinating privately against it but I may have changed my mind now after watching what my youngest has gone/is going through. But more about that later in the post.
The toddler picked it up a few weeks ago, for the second time. She had it back when she was 18 months old but only got about 12 spots so it obviously didn’t hit her hard enough to protect her from getting it again. This time she had more like 150 spots which started on her face and back and spread quickly. She was utterly miserable and in quite a bit of pain and discomfort with them. She also had a fever and just wanted lots of cuddles and love.
To deal with her chicken pox we:
Once we started the Piriton she felt much better and was able to deal with it a lot better. All in all it took just over a week for her to get better. She still has a few spots three weeks on but gradually they are all starting to fade.
L’s story is a completely different one. He, obviously, caught them off his sister, but has suffered so, so much more. I don’t know if it’s because he had his vaccinations the day before the spots appeared, and I didn’t know he was brewing chickenpox, so the virus was able to take ahold whilst his immune system was busy fighting the other things it has been exposed to, but he has gotten pretty ill with it. He’s also only 4 months old so I couldn’t immediately use half of what we used on Little I on him, because he’s too young.
He originally had about 5 spots on his head and by day 3, he was absolutely covered from head to toe. It continued to get worse and worse and I’ve never see anything like it before. He has over 100 on his face and head alone. Underneath his armpits, under his chin, around his mouth and nose, behind his knees and his nappy area are particularly bad.
He has been completely miserable and has spent a lot of the time just screaming in pain which is so heartbreaking to hear.
I originally started giving him oat baths and using Calamine but neither seemed to be making much of a difference to his comfort, and the spots just kept coming.
After 4 days I decided to call the doctors to see if I could get him seen and be told what to look out for if any of the spots got infected. They got me in at the end of the day and the doctor immediately said that quite a lot of the spots were already infected. He said it’s one of the worst cases he’d ever seen. He immediately started us on antibiotics and prescribed Piriton as well, even though it’s technically not meant for under ones. We had to take the first dose of antibiotics in the reception area, in case he reacted, and then were told they’d check in the next day and we’d have to come back if things hadn’t improved. I think the next step is an antiviral and possible monitoring at the hospital but we’re not at that stage yet (and I hope we won’t ever be!).
God bless the NHS. We are so lucky to have everything they do for us so readily available for ‘free’.
So this is our current POA to manage L’s pox:
We’re not over the final hurdle with his pox but I wanted to write this all down whilst I remembered so that we could help anyone else going through it just now.
If you’re worried about your child’s chickenpox, ring your GPs. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m not one for going to the doctor but I’m glad I did and they couldn’t have been more helpful. Obviously L’s case is a little bit worse than your standard pox but if you find yourself in the same boat then get help. It is so hard to see your little one in so much pain and there are options out there to help.
I think if/when I have a third child I may possibly look into getting them vaccinated after this experience!!
There will also be a video going up next week over on the YouTube channel – make sure you are subscribed!
How did you deal with your little one’s chickenpox?