Lily has caught chickenpox. After weeks of seeing the notice on the nursery door about the number of confirmed cases, it's finally arrived in our house and i'm slightly relieved!
Chickenpox is one of those things everybody says is easiest to get done before your child starts school. This is for a number of reasons, mainly because it's easier to distract them from itching and because the time scale of it is unpredictable which, when you have school, can be a nightmare to sort out and catch up with work.
It's hard though because it does make your child incredibly grumpy! I have never seen Lily so cranky and emotionally up and down. She can be really happy and bubbly, then she's annoyed by the itching which then leads to her crying as I think she has just had enough of it. It's difficult as a mum as there really isn't much you can do. You can apply cream, try and initiate activities but aside from that, there really isn't a lot that's in your control.
So what is Chickenpox?
According to the NHS Inform website, chickenpox "causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off". When I first saw a few spots, I really thought it was meningitis, but when you look further, you can see where the fluid is building up in the spots, ready to start either bursting or just scabbing over. You also get a rise in temperature with chickenpox so make sure you keep an eye on that over the course of the infection.
What can be done to relieve the symptoms?
Calamine lotion is one of the most popular ways to help soothe the itch you get from chickenpox and it cab be administered in a range of ways. The two ways I have used with myself (when I was a child) and Lily is a bath oil. This is fantastic as it allows you to really soak in it and let you skin absorb as much as it can to combat the spots. Another way is through a cream. My mum says you need to put enough on that it sinks into the skin overtime, a bit like the oil, don't rub it all in straight away. This juts allows you to leave a longer gap in between applications.
I also read online that a lukewarm bath or compress can really help. Not only can it help with the itching, it can help bring the temperature down. Be careful though, you shouldn't leave children alone in the bath anyway, but even more so when they're ill. When Lilly is ill, she becomes quite drowsy and not as aware of surroundings as a normal day, which can spell disaster of left in the bath unsupervised.
We've also been using the Aveeno (available here) skin relief lotion again in an attempt to reduce the itching. The lotion also helps to keep the skin hydrated. Lily gets dry skin anyway but with the temperature and and soaking more in the bath, her skin has been a bit worse.
Chickenpox is contagious so you need to know who the vulnerable groups of people are:
Babies less than 1 month old
Those with a poor immune system
Children taking medication
Children with severe heart or lung disease
Children with sever skin conditions
Pregnant women who have NOT had chickenpox
There are two things you need to do, firstly, inform those you've been in contact with who meet the criteria. They may not have caught the disease, but it's still better to let them know so they can look out for the symptoms. Also consider who comes into you child's contact from outside the family. For example, are there any pregnant women at your child's nursery or school? Secondly, don't rush sending your child back to school. Make sure all of the spots have scabbed over beforehand. It's easier to stay indoors and complete activities at home. This just helps scale down contact and the possibility of the disease spreading.