Chicken Pox: treatments and precautions -- a mother's experience!
Created by Krishnakali Basu Updated on Mar 09, 2017
Chicken Pox is a viral infection in which a person develops itchy blisters all over the body. This used to be one of the classic childhood diseases, but now it has become much less common since the introduction of the vaccine. Given the weather, chicken pox cases are on a rise in March and April months of the year. Here is what you should know about it.
Risk factors of Chicken Pox
Chicken pox is caused by varicella/herpes zoster virus. It is an extremely contagious condition and can spread easily to others. It can spread through contact with the infected person, sharing of articles like towels and pillow covers, and even through coughing and sneezing by the infected person. And unfortunately, the contagious-ness of the disease stays till the blisters crust over shed. The disease, like most viral conditions, does not have a cure in itself but there are medicines for symptomatic relief from body ache, head ache, fever, itchiness etc. But it is not life-threatening and after the headache and fever is over, the patient is free to move around, though he should stay away from company (especially those who don’t have immunity against chicken pox virus either from a previous bout of the disease or the vaccine) for a period of at least 21 days.
But, even though a person may have had chicken pox earlier, or had a vaccine, there is no guarantee of 100% immunity.
Also, herpes popularly known as shingles, is also caused by the same virus and even though you may have immunity, the second time around, the virus can manifest itself as herpes. Therefore it is best advised to exercise precaution.
In case you have chicken pox, how can you protect your child?
Since I was not vaccinated in my childhood I developed chickenpox this year. It turned difficult when my husband also contacted the infection. Though our son is vaccinnated yet we had to be very careful. We both were in isolation from him for 21 days each.
- Vaccinate: Get your child vaccinated against chicken pox and also get the booster dose, as per doctor’s suggestion. Though vaccine helps, yet a child can get infected with chicken pox, though in reduced intensity.
- Personal Hygiene: For the benefits of people around, the patient should avoid scratching to control the spread of infection. Also, scratching can lead to scarring.
- Hygiene of physical space: The patient’s room should be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned. Disinfectants should be added to the mopping water.
- Separation of garments: The patient’s clothes should not be washed with the clothes of other family members. They should be washed separately using a disinfectant and hot water. Most modern washing machines today also give an option of medic rinse. These can be tried out. Linen used by the infected person should also not be mixed .Patient’s clothes should be thoroughly dried in the sun and ironed too to remove any traces of infection.
- Seek help: If possible, send your child over to his grandparents house so that he is away from the infection. Or call a family member over, if staying away in a nuclear set-up so that the day to day house chores and child can be taken care of.
- Less the exposure, the better it is: Confinement of the patient is required and a quarantine of 21 days to be maintained. Consulting a physician is very important and being treated and following his instructions, crucial.Children should be kept away from an infected adult.
- Educate the children: There are many story books about chicken pox which can be read to a child so that he or she can understand the intensity and follow the do’s and dont’s.
- No shared washrooms: Washroom should not be shared with the infected person. Patient has to ensure complete hygiene while using the washroom.
- Air-borne disease: Since, it spreads by touching, sneezing and coughing, extreme precaution has to be maintained by the patient to cover his nose and mouth.
With chicken-pox, in India, there are a lot of myths and facts associated. Infact, in the interior parts of the country, some even link chicken pox to being possessed by a spirit. Though thankfully, this myth is getting erased, yet still there are many doing the rounds. It is therefore suggested to check with your doctor and take a proper treatment rather than putting yourself through confusions.
- In spite of the popular belief of not bathing, doctors suggest complete hygiene including bathing. For relief, a cool bath with baking soda can be tried.
- Boil neem leaves and add to bath water: Neem is well known for its antiseptic effects and its efficacy in treating chicken pox rash. (Though you may want to ensure first you are not allergic to any of these home remedies)
- Do not rub the skin. Rather dab it dry.
- Like in any other viral disease, eat light, digestible food. Avoid gassy foods such as hard beans, chanas, rajmas etc.
- Staying in isolation and quarantined from family members can be very depressing. Try and keep the mood happy of the patient—let him sit out, get him books to read, get friends to call and chat with the patient on the phone etc.
- Once the person is fully cured but there are scars from the rash, calamine lotion can be dabbed on the scars to fade them. Also, Vitamin E oil application is known to be beneficial.
- A blend of carrot and coriander leaves juice is known to have cooling effects on the body.
| Apr 21, 2016
Yes it's a myth
| Mar 20, 2016
People says that we should not make vegetables at home when anyone is infected... is it myth or really we should not make vegetables??
| Mar 17, 2016
Thanks for sharing this blog. as my daughter is suffering with mild chicken pox right now. your article is really helpful for me.
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