Chickenpox In Children - Symptoms And Treatment

Chickenpox In Children

Image: Shutterstock

Are you worried about the various illnesses that can affect your child? Do you constantly stay up to date with diseases and conditions that are common in children? Have you noticed any rashes or breakouts on your child’s skin that are also itchy and uncomfortable? Are you worried that it could be chickenpox but are not sure? Do you want to know more about chickenpox in children so that you can prevent it right from the start?

If your answer to the above questions is yes, scroll down to see our post here. Here, we talk all about chickenpox so that you can help your child on time.

What Is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a common illness that affects most children. It causes red breakouts and rashes on the skin that are itchy and turn into blisters with fluid inside. As the infection progresses, the blisters start to heal and dry, forming scabs and crusts that then fall off from the body. The disease occurs due to the varicella-zoster virus, and Chickenpox is also called varicella. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease and can easily spread from one child to the other.

Some children will have only a few spots and rashes while, in some children, the entire body will be affected with rashes. The most common areas of varicella in children rashes are present are the face, the arms, chest, stomach, legs, and ears.

[ Read: Common Bacterial Infections In Children ]

Causes Of Chickenpox In Children:

The virus varicella zoster causes chickenpox, and your child can get it from another person who is already infected. Almost 90 percent of people who have never had chickenpox are infected when they come in contact with someone who already has chickenpox.

Here are some of the most common causes of chickenpox in children: [1]

  1. It is easy for your child to come in contact with an infected child or person. As it is a common childhood disease, many children attend school before realizing they have chickenpox, which can further cause contamination in other children by spreading the infection.
  1. Once someone gets the chickenpox rashes, the blisters start to open up and can contaminate various surfaces and places. If your child comes in contact with such areas, like a school desk or chair, and then touches other parts of his body without washing his hands, he can easily pick up the virus.
  1. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can spread via tiny droplets that can also further contaminate various surfaces. Your child may come in direct contact with the droplets if the person who has sneezed is not careful or does not practice hygiene such as covering up with a handkerchief. Your child may also touch a surface that is contaminated with the droplets filled with the virus and can get infected.

[ Read: Triggers Of Psoriasis In Children ]

Symptoms Of Chickenpox In Children:

In most cases, the virus takes about two weeks to react, which means that your child will first show any symptoms of being contaminated after 14 days of coming into contact with the virus. In some children, however, the symptoms could show up as early as within seven days of coming into contact with the virus, or as late as 21 days. The time it takes for the symptoms to show after your child has been infected with the virus is also known as the ‘incubation period.’

Here are some chicken pox symptoms in children:

  1. Red rashes that look like blisters will start appearing on your child’s body.
  1. The rashes can be contained in some parts of the body or will spread out to cover the entire body.
  1. The rashes will usually appear together in small clusters.
  1. Some of the most common spots where you can spot them are on the face, the back, the stomach, the chest, the hands and legs, the ears and the scalp.
  1. Sometimes the rashes can even appear inside your child’s mouth and the ears.
  1. Also, the rashes may be present on the soles of your child’s palms as well as on the soles of the feet or around the loins.
  1. In the beginning, the rashes will start to appear as tiny red spots that will soon turn itchy. In a few days, the rashes will start to look like a blister and the itchiness increases.

[ Read: Coxsackievirus In Children ]

  1. In the next day or two, the blisters will start to fill up with a clear liquid in the beginning, which will gradually turn cloudy in the next few days. Finally, the blisters will start to dry up and will form a crust on the top.
  1. After a week or two, the crusts will slowly start to peel off from the blisters and will fall off from your child’s body.
  1. Once your child starts suffering from rashes, new rashes can also appear after the initial three to five days. In this case, the new rashes will usually come together in waves and form different clusters of rashes.

[ Read: Signs Of Gingivostomatitis In Children ]

Diagnosing Chicken pox In Children:

In the beginning, it can be difficult to diagnose child chickenpox if the rashes don’t appear. Once the rashes appear and you also notice your child has a mild temperature, it is most likely chickenpox.

Here are a few ways to diagnose chickenpox:

  • If your child already has the tell-tale rashes that are synonymous with chickenpox and is also running a mild temperature.
  • The rashes in chickenpox are quite distinct recognizable. You will be able to identify them differently from any other forms of rashes.
  • If you or your doctor are still not sure about it, the doctor may suggest a few blood tests that will confirm the presence of the virus and thus confirm chickenpox.

[ Read: Causes Of Rotavirus In Children ]

Can Chickenpox Cause Any Further Complications?

The biggest problem that your child faces with chickenpox is the constant urge to itch. As the rashes can be severely itchy, it will be very difficult for you to make sure that your child does not touch, itch or scratch them.

If your child is otherwise healthy, it is unlikely that being affected with chickenpox will cause any further health complications. In some cases, your child could get an infection in the rashes, which will mainly happen as a result of itching or scratching.

Your child can sometimes also develop pneumonia or encephalitis.

[ Read: Fifth Disease In Kids ]

Treatment For Chickenpox In Children:

There is no treatment for chicken pox in children , as it is more like a wait and watch infection where it heals. The itching sensation that your child feels during chickenpox is especially difficult to manage. There are a few things you can try at home that will help to ease the itch and will also help to prevent any infection:

  1. Take some gauze pads and soak them in bicarbonate of soda and water. Place the gauze over your child’s sores and rashes to provide some temporary relief from the itching sensation.
  1. Take some neem leaves and gently brush them over your child’s rashes to itch them. You can also boil two handfuls of neem leaves in a big pan of water and mix this water with bath water. Use it to give your child a bath on a daily basis to prevent or reduce the itch and to help the rashes dry faster.
  1. Check with your child’s doctor about the safety of using certain creams or lotions that contain calamine. Calamine is known to soothe the skin and may provide some relief to your child from the itching. Make sure you get cream that has been prescribed by your child’s doctor
  1. In case the itching is too severe and your child is not able to control scratching or itching, speak to the doctor and ask for medical care. The doctor will most likely prescribe an antihistamine medication or some tablets that will reduce itching.
  1. If your child also has the fever along with the rashes of chickenpox, your child’s doctor may prescribe a dose of Paracetamol or some other similar tablet. Make sure you only give what the doctor prescribes and follow the dosage.
  1. If your child’s condition is v severe, your child’s doctor will also prescribe an anti-viral medication.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Scarlet Fever In Children ]

Preventing Chickenpox In Children:

As there is no cure for chickenpox yet, it is important for you to follow certain preventive measures that will help stop the spread of the disease. Here are a few things you should follow if you want to prevent the spread of chickenpox:

  • Once you know that your child has chickenpox, make sure you put him on leave from school, day care, tuitions or any other places where he will come in contact with other children.
  • Your child will be okay and will not spread the infection further only when the last of the crust falls, so make sure you keep him at home till then.
  • Do not let your child come in contact with any female who is pregnant or with any young babies.
  • Ensure that you keep your child away from a child who is severely ill or is undergoing any treatment for cancer, especially chemotherapy.
  • If you have to travel with your child on an airplane while he has chickenpox, make sure you delay the same, as most airlines will not allow your child to fly in this condition. It could also cause a potential spread of the infection.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor about the chickenpox virus and check when your child can be given the same, especially if he is still not infected with the disease.
  • When your child has chickenpox, the virus will spread through any object that he comes in contact with. Make sure you clean up all surfaces using antibacterial cleaning devices and do not let your child touch siblings or pets.
  • Try to keep all objects separate in the house till the last crust has not fallen off your child’s body.
  • If your child has chickenpox, wash his clothes and bedding separately on a daily basis and use hot water for the same.

[ Read: Types Of Fungal Infections In Children ]

Healthy And Light Recipe Ideas For Chickenpox:

While your child is suffering from chickenpox, it is important you take care of his nutrition while making sure that he eats light and easy meals. Here are a few recipe ideas that will help your child get back his strength and also enjoy what he is eating:

1. Chicken Clear Soup:

Chicken Clear Soup

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 250 gm of chicken with bones
  • 1 onion chopped in julienne
  • 1 green chilly – optional
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/8thof a tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • Salt as per taste
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • A handful of curry leaves

For The Garnish:

  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves

How To:

  • Heat the pressure cooker and add the onions. Add other spices like curry leaves, the turmeric powder, the ginger garlic paste, salt, and the coriander powder. Finally, add the chicken and the water. Mix everything together.
  • Add the coriander leaves and close the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • Cook the soup in the pressure cooker for about three to five whistles. Take it off the heat and let it sit aside till it releases its steam. Once you open the cooker, check if the chicken is well done, else add a few more whistles till it cooks completely.
  • Stir the soup well so that all the spices and flavor mix.
  • Add a bit of freshly ground black pepper on the top and garnish with the chopped coriander leaves. Serve warm. You can serve this with warm toasted bread, light chapatti or even some plain boiled white rice.

2. Mixed Vegetable Clear Soup:

Mixed Vegetable Clear Soup

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 grated potato
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ a cup of green peas
  • ½ a cup of green beans
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • ½ a tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of oil
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt as per taste
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

How To:

  • Heat a pan and add the oil.
  • Once the oil starts to get warm, add the onion and the bay leaf and sauté it for some time. As the onion starts to turn golden, add the garlic and the ginger and stir for a few more minutes till all the spices start to leave their aroma.
  • Next, add the vegetables and stir them for a minute, before adding the water. Let the vegetables cook in the water till they become well done.
  • Take the bay leaf out of the pan and discard it. Now pour the entire vegetable mix in a blender and blend it to a smooth consistency. You can also choose to leave the soup as it is in terms of texture and consistency.
  • If you are blending the vegetables, place them back in the pan and add the salt and the black pepper as per taste. Cook it for a few minutes till all the flavors blend in together.
  • Remove the soup from the heat and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.
  • You can serve this with warm toasted bread, light chapatti or even some plain boiled white rice.

3. Vegetable And Dal Soup:

Vegetable And Dal Soup

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • ½ a cup of moong dal (presoaked in water for 1/2 hour)
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • 1 peeled and chopped potato
  • ½ a cup of finely chopped vegetables of your choice, such as carrots, pumpkin, beans, beetroot or cabbage
  • ½ a clove of crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper as per taste

How To:

  • Take a pressure cooker and heat it for a while. Once it becomes hot, add all the ingredients inside. Give it a good stir to make sure that all the spices and ingredients mix in well.
  • Now close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook it for about four to five whistles. Remove it from the heat and wait till the pressure cooker releases its steam.
  • Once the soup is ready and at room temperature, you can either blend it to a smooth consistency and serve, or let your child have it as it is.

4. Tomato Rasam:

Tomato Rasam

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 3 tomatoes chopped up
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 crushed black peppercorns
  • ½ a tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ a tsp of oil
  • Salt as per taste

How To:

  • Place the pan over medium heat and add the oil.
  • Next, add the cumin seeds, the garlic and the peppercorns to the oil and give them a nice stir. Wait till the cumin seeds start to sputter. Once you hear them plop, add the tomatoes and the water.
  • Let the entire mix boil for about ten minutes. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer and cook.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and place it aside till it cools down to room temperature or is warm.
  • Use the back of a big ladle or a potato masher to mash in the soup and take out the peels of the tomato that may be floating in the soup.
  • Strain the mix through a strainer to get rid of any leftover skins.
  • You can let your child have this as a simple soup, or add it to well boiled plain white rice and mix it well.

5. Lamb Trotter Or Paaya Soup:

Lamb Trotter Or Paaya Soup

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 3 to 4 pieces of lamb trotter or paaya
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 2 to 3 black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1/4thtsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 whole crushed cardamom
  • 5 cups of water
  • Salt as per taste

How To:

  • Take a pressure cooker and let it heat up over a medium flame.
  • Add all the ingredients in the pressure cooker, except the water, and give it all a nice stir. Make sure the lamb trotter pieces are properly coated with all the spices.
  • Now add the water and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook the soup for about 20 minutes while keeping the flame low. Once the time is up, remove the pressure cooker from the heat and set it aside so that it can cool down.
  • You can now strain the mix to get a nice clear soup that will make a delicious soup dish as it is and will also go very well with some plain boiled white rice.

6. Clear Vegetable Soup:

Clear Vegetable Soup

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/4thcup of green peas
  • 1/4thcup of peeled and diced carrots
  • 1/4thcup of diced potatoes
  • 1/4thcup of chopped cabbage
  • 1/4thcup of green beans
  • 1/4thcup of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt as per taste
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper or as per taste

How To:

  • Take a pressure cooker and place it over medium heat. Once it starts to heat up, add all the ingredients and give it a good stir.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for about three whistles. Remove it from the heat and let the pressure cooker release its steam.
  • Once the soup is ready, you can strain it to get a clear vegetable soup.

Chickenpox is a difficult condition, as it causes a lot of itchings. Make sure that you prevent your child from scratching the blisters. How did you help your child during chickenpox? Tell us below.

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