Chicken pox: helpful tips

Until recently i had faint memories of chicken pox, a very common childhood illness. I got it aged 14, on the last day of the 21 incubation period from my baby brother-i was almost gleeful that i wouldn’t get it and then boom, on the last day all over my lovely face and body. For some reason, i though it would be fun to put zelenka-a very commonly used Russian natural antiseptic-dark green in colour- on the spots on my face and look out of the window when my so-called boyfriend gave me a holler, standing downstairs in our garden-we used to be next door neighbours at the time-suffice to say he ran away almost screaming, while I collapsed in heaps of laughing giggles.

Chicken pox generally rears its head or rather spots during spring or summer-i have no idea why but it’s an acknowledged fact. It generally spreads from child to child at school-I foolishly thought that my kids would not get it because they would have ‘higher immunity’ due to the fact that I had it as a child and the fact that I nursed them-don’t be fooled by this old folks tale- if your child is meant to get it, he or she will, no matter what .)

Most kids are utterly miserable for the first two to four days due to the fact that they get terribly itchy. Try explaining to a small child that he or she  shouldn’t scratch because they might have marks on their body in the future-they might give you a pitiful glance at best……

It is absolutely true that the younger the child, the easier they handle this illness, so if you baby or child gets it, don’t dispair, just be patient.

During my childhood one wasn’t vaccinated against chicken pox but there is a vaccine for it now, yet a word of warning-it stops being very effective after a child turns 10 or so and if your child gets it around 16 or 18, keep an eye on things as it might lead to infertility as a side effect.

So my tired and tested advice is this:

-the initial 3 or 4 days can be miserable but things get better after that pretty quickly. Try to keep you child distracted by favourite tv programmes, reading etc.-anything that will keep their minds off scratching.

-a word on Piriton syrup-doctors recommend it and some of my girlfriends think it does make a difference during the itchy phase-in my experience it didn’t make a difference at all. 

-there is a genius cream to help with the itching that my friend Michelle gave me, having used it on her children-thank God for friends at times like that-having had the experience like that themselves, they will help you keep your sanity and your child’s misery at bay too. The gel is called ViraSoothe by Care+(available from larger Boots branches). It can be used on children as young as 6 months and it helps relieve the itching and supports the healing and scarring process-it truly made a huge difference and in a very short period of time.

-homeopathy has lots of helpful remedies that help with fever/itching/healing. My lovely homeopath Kay Wesley recommended the remedies below:

Sulphur makes the spots come out more quickly. Merc Viv is great is blisters get inflamed.Rhus tox is a useful cream to apply as the blisters appear;switch to Calendula cream once the blisters/spots are fully out-it helps the skin heal properly and in some cases minimises the scarring.

-it might be beneficial to give your child a couple of quick baths a day, with calendula drops or Weleda’s baby products-it calms them down and soothes the itchy skin.

-please be aware that your child is contagious for the first 5 days or until the spots start drying out and no new ones appear. And don’t give dirty looks to mothers of kids who look like they had chicken pox at the playground-no decent mother will take her child out intentionally while they are contagious for other people.

-infectious deceases like that make your child’s immunity stronger, so just keep an eye on your child’s behaviour and call the doctor is something worries you-better safe than sorry.

And last but not least-the positive thing about chicken pox (my son calls it chicken fox) is that you only get it once!

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