Despite being a fairly common childhood experience, I always shudder when I hear the words “there has been a case of chicken pox in your child’s room at nursery”. Whilst some parents would woop with glee and happily rub their child up and down against the poor infected soul, I, rightly or wrongly, take more of an avoidance approach! At nearly 4 years old, we have been fairly lucky to get away with it thus far, despite Erin sharing a bath with her cousin who woke up with it the following day!
I am one of the lucky ones in that despite never having had it as an adult or child, I recently found out I am immune – presumably because my Mum had it when she was pregnant with me.
Other than keeping your child away from every public place possible, or paying for the new chicken pox vaccine (which my sister chose to do with her son), there is very little to prevent your child from getting it. There are however, lots of ways to manage how you treat it and make the whole experience just that little less painful.
We chatted to some real mums who have been through chicken pox and came out the other side unscathed for their advice on surviving the experience!
Here’s their hints and tips!!
- Offer your child luke warm baths – too warm and the spots will multiply faster than views on viral cat videos. Luke warm baths will soothe the child’s itches, whilst at the same time keeping the spots under control.
- Do not rub dry – when getting your child out of the bath don’t be tempted to rub them dry but simply dab or pat to remove the moisture. Rubbing can aggravate the spots, lifting off the top layer of skin and make them even more painful and sore.
- Distraction is key – Unfortunately, your little on is going to feel a bit rubbish to say the least. Distract your child in any way possible, whether that be cuddles, special treats, their favourite Disney movie or sticker books and colouring – you are likely to be spending a LOT of time indoors.
- Painkillers – such as Calpol or paracetamol can be given to manage the pain and any associated fever. Contrary to some advise you may read online, you should NOT give ibuprofen for chicken pox.
- Oat baths – can be helpful to manage the symptoms – yes they are messy – one Mum I spoke to recommended popping oats in a pair of old tights before wrapping round the tap so they dangle in the water. The oats can help relieve the itching, but can make the bath a little slippy, so hold on tight!
- Soothe – Consider creams and medications tailored specifically for chicken pox such as ViraSoothe . This gel works by cooling the skin and offers soothing relief to the affected areas, reducing the urge to scratch – a much better alternative to Phoebe’s approach of oven gloves and cellotape!
- Offer plenty of fluids – When feeling so rotten, your child might not feel like eating much, particularly if they have spots in their mouth or throat. Keep their fluids up by offering water in what ever way possible – ice lollies & frozen yoghurts work really well, particularly when like today the sun is shining!
- Dress in loose clothing – Tight clothes can aggravate the spots and make your child even more tempted to scratch. Loose flowing dresses or t shirts / shorts will allow the air to get to their skin and help the spots scab over and heal faster.
- Be prepared to for some symptoms of cabin fever! Your child is contagious to others until the spots have crusted over. Make indoor play fun by building dens and ordering pizza!
- Avoid contact – quite crucially – avoid contact with others (unless parents specifically want a pox party!). In particular, you should keep your child away from anyone who may be pregnant or those with weakened immune systems.
There’s no doubt about it, chicken pox sucks and chances are it will be a tough few weeks, but by managing the symptoms, fingers crossed you can make it as pain free as possible for everyone concerned.
Have your little ones had chicken pox? What other tips would you recommend?
*This is a collaborative post*