CHICKEN POX IN BABIES
Chicken pox or Varicella is a viral infection that causes a unique rash. Kids with chicken pox typically develop fluid-filled blisters that usually start on the chest and then spread to the arms and legs. Affected kids may also have a fever. Most people think of chicken pox as a relatively mild disease. But, it can also turn serious. In a minority of cases, it can go into the liver. It can also get into the brain and cause very serious illness and even death. Most of the time, chicken pox lasts four to seven days. The blisters eventually pop and scab over. Your child is considered contagious until the rashes disappear.
Chickenpox is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus. It is spread by droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by contact with the clothing, bed linens or oozing blisters of an infected person. The onset of symptoms is 10 to 21 days after exposure. The disease is most contagious a day or two before the rash appears and until the rash is completely dry and scabbed over. Because most babies get antibodies against the virus from their mother while in the womb, it’s unusual for a baby to come down with chicken pox during the first year. Those who do tend to have a mild case.
The rash is the classic symptom. If your child has a blister-like rash, especially one that started on his chest and moved to his extremities, there’s a good chance he has chicken pox.
Chickenpox appears as a very itchy rash that spreads from the torso to the neck, face and limbs. Lasting seven to 10 days the rash progresses from red bumps to fluid-filled blisters that drain and scab over. Vesicles may also appear in the mouth, on the scalp, around the eyes or on the genitals, and can be very painful.
Chickenpox infection appears 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus. The rash is the main indication of chickenpox. Other signs and symptoms, which may appear one to two days before the rash, include:
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell
In most cases, the virus goes away on its own in less than a week. Your job is to keep baby as comfy as possible. Try soothing baths and lotions like calamine are good choice. You can also give your child acetaminophen to help combat pain and fever. Never use aspirin, because it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious medical condition that can lead to death. Oral anti-itch medicines, like diphenhydramine can also be used. Your doctor or pharmacist will help you to determine the right dose based on your child’s weight. Chickenpox is extremely contagious. Keep your child at home until all of the blisters have burst and crusted over.
In healthy children, chickenpox typically requires no medical treatment. Your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine to relieve itching. But for the most part, the disease is allowed to run its course.