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Chickenpox Symptoms, Treatments & Tips

This is a common childhood ailment and isn’t considered a serious health risk that needs professional medical attention (in most cases). Keep in mind that it’s more severe for adults (especially men who are twice as likely to die from it than women [1]), though once you have it you should be immune from it for life.

In BedThe biggest concern for chickenpox is the dreadful itchiness it causes and this has parents scrambling to find helpful items for relief.

Here you’ll find a handy tipsheet loaded with home remedies I’ve culled from my notes (for both soothing bath additives and topical skin treatments). I’ve also added some general info you may find helpful.

Signs:

There will likely be cold or flu-like symptoms at first (fever, chills, weakness, headaches) then a couple days later you’ll notice a rash develop (initially pink and then darkens in color to red)…you’ll notice just a few spots at first but they will rapidly multiply over the next little while.

The rash/bumps will turn into blisters and they can number in the hundreds. A fresh crop will appear daily for usually up to 5 days (it can go longer in more severe cases). The blisters will be liquid filled and crust over before dropping off (once they’ve all crusted, the contagious period is over).

Need help with itch relief? A cool to lukewarm bath every few hours is soothing and beneficial, wash up with soap during at least one of the daily baths to help keep blisters clean, washing away any bacteria and helping fight infection.

For increased itch-fighting power, try adding one of these items to the water:

Dabbers that can be applied topically to skin (for itch relief):

Tips:

Why scratching should be prevented: It can result in permanent scarring as well as infected blisters.

What not to do: Do not give aspirin to a child with chickenpox since this can increase the risk of Reye’s Syndrome [3].

What to watch for: This isn’t considered a serious illness that needs professional medical care (normally), but contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

It can be dangerous for pregnant women and those with a lower immune system (newborns, cancer patients, the elderly) and doctors should be contacted immediately if chickenpox exposure is suspected.

Is it contagious? Yes, very! This is a virus (varicella-zoster) that can be spread by both direct contact and airborne droplets. Keep children home from school when spots first appear (though they have been contagious 24 hours or so before the rash appears). They’re no longer contagious 24 hours after all the sores have crusted over (about 5 days after rash appears). The entire contagious period is typically one week though can be longer until blisters have stopped developing and each has crusted over.

How long before you know whether or not you caught it? If you’ve been in contact with someone who has chickenpox, it can take 10 to 21 days before it makes an appearance.

Did you know: For those of us who have had it as a child or have been vaccinated for it, we should be immune for life though the virus stays dormant in our bodies and can be triggered again when we’re older (making its appearance known with shingles [4]).

Please Note: This information is from my collection of remedies and notes, none of the above is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is provided for general knowledge purposes only.