14 October, 2022
Uh oh – your child has chicken pox. While they’re in for an uncomfortable few days, with a bit of research and a few remedies you can ease their symptoms and stop the infection spreading to others. Here’s everything you need to know about chicken pox.
What is chicken pox for kids?
Chicken pox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, an acute infectious disease.
Known for being itchy and highly contagious, chicken pox is most common in young children – though both adults and children can contract it. It is a contagious infection that involves an itchy and uncomfortable skin rash and is very easy to catch if proper measures aren’t taken.
In healthy children, the chicken pox virus is generally mild and will usually last two to three days. Infants, teenagers, adults, pregnant women and immunocompromised people may experience more severe symptoms and have a higher likelihood of complications.
The virus can easily spread via direct contact with a contagious person, or by absorbing any fluids that are coughed or sneezed. Your child is usually infectious one to two days before the first rash appears, and until the last blisters have disappeared.
After the primary infection, the varicella-zoster virus stays in the body’s sensory nerve ganglia as a latent infection. This means that it can re-emerge as shingles, a viral infection that results in a painful rash (often presenting as a single stripe of blisters around the side of the torso) that is painful and may feel like a tingling or burning sensation. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, sensitivity to light and fatigue.
Chicken pox symptoms for kids?
If you suspect your child may have chicken pox, it is a good idea to consult a doctor. The signs and symptoms of chicken pox can look different depending on the severity of the virus.
What does chicken pox look like on kids?
- Mild fever
- Feeling tired
- A rash
When they have chicken pox kids can display a rash 10 to 21 days after they were first exposed. The rash will usually appear first on their chest, back or face.
How to treat chicken pox in kids?
Children should not be involved in early learning if they are showing chicken pox symptoms. Instead, it is recommended you care for them at home.
As it is a virus, chicken pox can’t be treated with antibiotics – rest and limited itching of the blisters will likely be the best course of action. To ease their pain or irritation, you may want to pick up a medication or cream from your local pharmacy.
Other important steps when dealing with chicken pox include keeping fluids up to make sure your child stays hydrated. For associated symptoms like headaches and fever, paracetamol can help.
When do kids get chickenpox vaccine?
A chicken pox vaccination can be given to children aged 18 months, and is recommended by doctors to help your child – and as a result, your family and friends – from contracting the illness.
The chicken pox vaccination has limited side effects and is free in Australia, so it is regarded as a safe and effective method of prevention for chicken pox. To increase protection, a second or booster dose of the vaccine can be given at least one month after the initial vaccination.