A few days ago I had a friend email me about chickenpox. Her children had been exposed and she wanted to be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a viral infection in which a person develops extremely itchy blisters all over the body. It used to be one of the classic childhood diseases. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpesvirus family. Chickenpox can be spread very easily to others. You may get chickenpox from touching the fluids from a chickenpox blister, or if someone with the disease coughs or sneezes near you. Even those with mild illness may be contagious. A person with chickenpox become contagious 1 to 2 days before their blisters appear. They remain contagious until all the blisters have crusted over.
Most cases of chickenpox occur in children younger than 10. The disease is usually mild, although serious complications sometimes occur. Adults and older children usually get sicker than younger children. Children whose mothers have had chickenpox are not very likely to catch it before they are 1 year old. If they do catch chickenpox, they often have mild cases. This is because antibodies from their mothers’ blood help protect them.
Severe chickenpox symptoms are more common in children whose immune system does not work well because of an illness or medicines such as chemotherapy and steroids.
Most children with chickenpox have the following symptoms before the rash appears:
- Stomach ache
The chickenpox rash occurs about 10 to 21 days after coming into contact with someone who had the disease. The average child develops 250 to 500 small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters over red spots on the skin.
- The blisters are usually first seen on the face, middle of the body, or scalp
- After a day or two, the blisters become cloudy and then scab. Meanwhile, new blisters form in groups. They often appear in the mouth, in the vagina, and on the eyelids.
- Children with skin problems such as eczema may get thousands of blisters.
Most pox will not leave scars unless they become infected with bacteria from scratching.
Some children who have had the vaccine will still develop a mild case of chickenpox. They usually recover much more quickly and have only a few pox (less than 30). These cases are often harder to diagnose. However, these children can still spread chieckenpox to others. Your health care provider can usually diagnose chicken pox by looking at the rash and asking questions about the person’s medical history. Small blisters on the scalp usually confirms the diagnosis.
I have a little reminder of chickenpox on my left hand (small scar). I am glad that the vaccine was not around when I was growing up, because I was able to develop natural immunity to this virus. When my children catch chickenpox (and I hope they do) I will use natural remedies that help the virus run its course properly and support the immune system.
Aconite: This remedy should be given during the initial stages of chickenpox. When there is fever, restlessness, and intense thirst.
Apis: The child has itching and stinging chickenpox that is worse with heat and in warm rooms. Better in cold and cool rooms.
Belladonna: Use this remedy when there is also a severe headache, flushed face, hot skin, and drowsiness/ unable to sleep.
Rhus Tox: Most common remedy for chickenpox. Intense itching, especially at night and from scratching. Very restless.
~Green Boot Girl