What is chickenpox and what does it look like?
Chickenpox is a childhood eruptive or exanthematous disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The virus causes fever and an exanthem of itchy blisters that evolve into pustules, affecting the entire body, including the mouth and scalp.
How to spot chickenpox
Chickenpox lesions erupt in spurts. This means that fresh lesions appear simultaneously alongside those that are dry or almost healed. This varied evolution is characteristic of chickenpox and is referred to as a “starry sky” pattern.
What are the symptoms of chickenpox?
The key symptoms are: malaise, fever, headache, agitation, persistent itching caused by the lesions. malaise fever headache agitation persistent itching caused by the lesions.
Common questions about chickenpox
Scratching causes blisters to rupture, which increases inflammation. After healing, blisters that were scratched by the child often leave scars.
Chickenpox usually lasts for about two weeks, but related symptoms such as weakness and poor appetite can remain for longer.
A child with chickenpox should stay inside. Not only is chickenpox highly contagious, but it also causes general weakness in children which means they will need plenty of rest.
In healthy children, chickenpox rarely causes further health issues. However, if a child already has other illnesses, chickenpox can become aggressive and can lead to neuro-cerebral complications.
As babies under the age of six months are still protected by their mother’s antibodies, they are not usually affected by chickenpox.
How to treat chickenpox
Antiviral drugs are available to treat chickenpox. However, they are often not necessary because chickenpox usually resolves itself naturally.
To soothe itching to reduce the risk of the child scratching, apply Astringent Gel to the lesions. Astringent Gel helps to reduce the blisters, thus minimizing itching and burning that accompany them. In addition, Astringent Gel is an antiseptic which helps prevent infection and the risk of scarring after the illness. Apply Astringent Gel several times a day as needed.
- Avoid the use of antibiotic creams. Chickenpox is viral, not bacterial, meaning antibiotic topical treatments are useless.
- Avoid using moisturizers, as they can macerate blisters and cause infection.
- Bathing should be stopped as soon as blisters appear. This helps to reduce moisture on the skin which can help prevent infection. As soon as all scabs have fallen off, bathing can resume as normal.