Dealing with chicken pox
Chicken pox is caused by a virus, which means you can't take antibiotics to get rid of it. You're pretty much stuck with the disease until it fades away, which can take a week or so. While it's usually found in young children, you can get it at any age if you haven't had it before. In fact, though I was exposed repeatedly as a child, I didn't get this typical childhood disease until I was 22!
There are a number of ways to make the whole experience of chicken pox a little more bearable. I've been testing these methods out because my five year old currently has this disease. Let's take a look.
Easing the Fever
Technically, a fever is good for you, since it means your body is fighting against the virus. Unfortunately, this can also cause other issues, like joint pain and discomfort. If your child's fever goes over 38º, you should call a doctor, since there can be complications.
In the meantime, your little one can have Tylenol, but not asprin, to ease that fever. This will also help alleviate any joint pain he or she feels.
Other good methods of making a fever more comfortable include:
- Popsicles (avoid citrus flavors if your child has sores on his tongue)
- Chilled wet wipes (stick the package in the fridge for an hour)
- Cool, dampened cloths on the forehead
- Ice chips
Stopping the Itch
Of course, the most common symptom of chicken pox is itchiness. This can drive you and your child insane! And the blisters that form can be ripped open, exposing the tender skin below, which stings when touched.
We had problems with my five year old scratching in his sleep. He was very good during the day, but at night, his hands just scratched. So how do you stop this? By easing the itch.
My son found that a nice cool shower helped a lot. The pox seemed to pop up most where he was sweating (we live in a tropica country), around his hairline, on his neck and armpits. They were everywhere, of course, but these areas were especially bad. A cool shower eased the itch and helped keep them from coming up so fast.
You can add oatmeal to a bath for itch relief. Tie a cup of oatmeal inside a stocking and drop it into the tub. Remember to keep the water fairly cool to ensure that it doesn't aggravate things.
Add some baking soda to the bath, or just mix it with a little water and apply it to the sores. We did this with my son and it really did help, though it was messy.
The standard go-to solution for itchiness is still good in the case of chicken pox. Just slather it on . . . we tried dotting it on each spot, but in the end it was too time consuming and worked best just rubbing it over his entire body.
We haven't tried this remedy since my son recently had surgery and is still on other medications, but apparently you can use standard, over the counter antihistamines to help ease the itch. It's certainly worth a try and will help your child sleep better. You may want to talk to the doctor first, though.
Keeping Boredom at Bay
Of course, any parent knows that once the discomfort eases a bit, a bored kid can be a real pain! Here's what we've been doing to help my son stay occupied.
- Watching movies
- Playing Wii (we removed our usual time limits for now)
- Reading the Magic Tree House series
- Inventing stories that I write down for him
- Playing board games
Fortunately, your little one will be well soon. If you think there is anything besides chicken pox going on, make sure to call your child's doctor.