How To Tell If Your Baby or Child Has Chickenpox
This article is intended as a general informational guide only and should not be substituted for professional medical advice. It is also important to define that self-diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition is not recommended. If you are concerned about your baby's or child's health, please consult a healthcare professional who can provide the necessary assessments, diagnoses and treatments.
Is your baby or child itching and showing a rash? Are you worried that they might have chickenpox?
Knowing how to recognise the signs and symptoms of this common childhood illness can help you get your little one the help they need quickly.
In this article, we will cover the stages of chickenpox, as well as its symptoms, treatments, transmission risks, and how to handle it if your child contracts it.
By the end of this article, you will have all the knowledge necessary to diagnose and treat chickenpox in your infant or child.
What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).
It's most commonly found in infants and young children, but it can still be contracted later in life.
The main symptom of chickenpox is a red, itchy spotty rash that may be accompanied by mild fever, headaches, and sore muscles.
The rash usually appears on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.
In rare cases, serious complications such as pneumonia or even death may occur if someone with weakened immunity catches chickenpox.
Vaccines are available to protect against infection and can help reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get infected.
Related: When Can My Child Go Back To School After Chickenpox?
Overview of Symptoms
Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus that can make a child feel pretty miserable.
It produces a blister-like rash all over the body, fever and general aches and pains. Other symptoms include feeling tired all the time, itchy skin and having a little appetite.
Having an unusually high temperature is one of the signs of chickenpox in children.
Temperatures tend to be around 38°C (100.4°F) or higher during the early stages of the illness and can last for 1-2 days up to several weeks depending on how severe it is.
Aches and Pains
Children with chickenpox often complain about sore muscles and other aches throughout their body - from headaches, backaches and sore throats to feeling weak or exhausted.
Treatment usually involves anti-inflammatory medications or other types of analgesics (pain relievers) depending on how bad it is for your child.
Fatigue is another common symptom that children suffer from when they have chickenpox so make sure they get enough rest - even after other symptoms have faded away - to assist in recovery time.
Also, avoid activities that involve too much physical exertion as this may slow down their recovery process even more!
Loss Of Appetite
It's likely that your child won't have much of an appetite while they are suffering from chickenpox due to feeling unwell or having difficulty eating due to an itchy rash inside their mouth or throat area.
Ensure they still get adequate nutrition by encouraging them to eat nourishing foods such as soups and stews that are easy on their digestive system even if their appetite is low!
Stages of Chickenpox
Chickenpox is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, highly contagious and usually presents with an itchy rash spread across the body.
It can also cause general discomfort in addition to a fever.
Knowing the stages of chickenpox is important when it comes to identifying and managing the illness appropriately.
This condition typically progresses through three main stages: small spots, blisters and scabs.
We will explore each stage in more depth below:
Stage 1: Small Spots Appear
At first, red spots appear that look similar to mosquito bites. The spots may be slightly raised or flat depending on how far along in the infection you are.
The spots usually start appearing on the scalp and face but can eventually spread all over the body including inside the mouth, arms, legs and even genital area if left untreated.
This stage usually lasts 1-2 days before moving onto more severe symptoms.
Stage 2: The Spots Become Blisters
The second stage of chickenpox is often when parents start to realise their child has been infected with this virus - as blisters start to form and burst to release fluid causing itching and further discomfort for patients with this condition.
These blisters generally appear in clusters on the raised red spots that appeared in Stage 1 of chickenpox infection.
This stage often occurs within 24-48 hours after the initial appearance of spots and can last for several days until dried up or treated with medication or natural remedies such as cool baths and calamine lotion to reduce the itching sensation associated with this stage of illness.
Stage 3: The Blisters Become Scabs
After a day or two, the fluid in the blisters gets cloudy and they begin to dry out and crust over forming scabs (which look like little brown dots).
This is usually a sign that your child is well on their way towards recovery from Chickenpox infection as scabbing indicates healing skin underneath which means they are less likely to transmit the virus to other people around them who haven't been exposed yet!
However, new spots can keep appearing in waves for 3-5 days after the rash begins so make sure to stay vigilant just in case symptoms worsen again after initial improvement was noticed!
Treatments for Chickenpox
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for chickenpox; however, there are pharmacy remedies that can alleviate symptoms.
It's best to consult your doctor or paediatrician for advice on how to manage this condition optimally.
Paracetamol can be taken to reduce any fever associated with chickenpox while other anti-inflammatories may also be prescribed by your doctor to reduce swelling around the spots.
It’s important to note that aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years old as it increases the risk of Reye’s syndrome which can develop in a small number of cases when chickenpox goes untreated or undiagnosed.
The itching sensation associated with chickenpox can be particularly uncomfortable and distracting for sufferers - especially small children who may not understand why they should not scratch their skin even though it badly itches!
One way to help soothe these unpleasant feelings is through over-the-counter medications such as calamine lotion and cooling gels which help to relieve pain and discomfort effectively.
Additionally, your doctor might prescribe an antihistamine like Piriton for example, depending on age and severity of the condition - this would need to be taken orally rather than topically applied directly onto skin blisters as per recommendation from medical professional advised on the case.
In most cases, chickenpox usually cures itself within one to two weeks although new spots may continue appearing in waves during this time period after the initial rash begins (usually lasting up to three days).
In general though, once scabs have formed over blisters or crusting occurs then these should start healing naturally - leaving the patient symptom free shortly afterwards!
Can Babies Under 1 Get Chicken Pox?
It is possible for babies under 1 year of age to contract the chicken pox virus; however, it is rare. This is because most babies are exposed to the antibodies of this virus from their mother in the womb and therefore typically don’t develop the illness during their first year of life. In cases where a baby does get chickenpox before turning one, it is usually in a mild form. It's important that if you suspect your baby has been infected with chickenpox that you contact your doctor immediately for advice on how to best care for them.
Can a Parent With a Child Who Has Chickenpox Pass the Virus On?
Yes, if a parent has a child with chickenpox they can pass on the virus to other members of their family who are not immune. The virus is very contagious and can spread quickly between people through close contact. It's estimated that up to 90% of non-immune people who come into contact with someone who is infected may also become exposed to the virus and develop chickenpox themselves. It's important that if you have a family member with chickenpox, you take extra precautions such as frequent handwashing, wearing protective clothing and avoiding direct contact to ensure that the virus does not spread further.
Can I Go to Work if My Child Has Chickenpox?
If your child has chickenpox, it is not recommended that you go to work. It is best to keep your child at home until the virus is no longer infectious, which can take up to seven days after the rash begins. You should also make sure that you avoid contact with pregnant women and other vulnerable people in order to prevent the spread of chickenpox. Staying off work for this time is essential for protecting your colleagues and others from getting infected.