Chickenpox is considered as a highly communicable disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The symptoms of chicken pox include fever, mouth sores, headache and itchy rashes on the chest, neck and back. After a span of 6 days, the chickenpox rash can easily spread all over the body.
The bumps similar to insect bites in appearance progress into watery blisters that become open sores. By 3 weeks, the sores eventually crust over and eventually disappear. It is important to note that chickenpox can be easily managed with simple home remedies unless the symptoms become severe. You can learn more about these remedies by enrolling in a first aid class today.
Lotions and pastes
Even though there are no studies done to prove the effectiveness of calamine lotion on chickenpox, it has been considered as a safe and effective remedy. A paste that is made out of baking soda and applied 2-3 times in a day and at bedtime can provide relief. A doctor can be consulted before applying lotions that contain diphenhydramine on the skin. Just remember that diphenhydramine is an antihistamine which causes temporary side effects such as changes in the behavior and consciousness.
The commonly used household items can be combined into cool or tepid bath water to help relieve the itchiness of chickenpox. It is recommend to bathe for 15-20 minutes at 2-3 times in a day using a combination of a cup of baking soda per 1 inch of bath water.
Another option is to use a finely ground oatmeal into the bath water for a soothing effect. You have to avoid chilling by checking the temperature of the water and limiting time spent in the bath. If a small child has chickenpox, do not leave him/her alone in the bathtub.
In some cases, the doctor can recommend an antiviral medication such as acyclovir to help reduce the course of the condition as well as minimize the symptoms of chickenpox. In most cases, antiviral drugs are recommended within 24 hours after the development of the rash to those over 12 years old since this age group is likely to suffer from a severe case. Other high-risk groups in which antiviral drugs are prescribed include those who have long-term skin or lung conditions and those who are using aspirin-based or corticosteroid medications for extended periods.
How to prevent infection
If the open sores are scratched, it can spread bacteria thus resulting to scarring or even a life-threatening infection. A doctor should be consulted if the signs of infection are present such as drainage of pus, red-colored streaks or fever higher than 102 degrees F. The ideal way to prevent skin damage from scratching is to trim the fingernails and wear gloves at night. As for older children and adults, they can press on the itchy areas using a cold compress or an ice cube.
Considerations to bear in mind
Reye syndrome is a life-threatening condition that is linked to the administration of aspirin to children who have chickenpox. It is recommended to provide acetaminophen to safely relieve the symptoms of chickenpox but a doctor should be consulted first regarding the proper dosage.