The ins and outs of chickenpox: When tots have spots

 If you’re little one hasn’t been vaccinated against chickenpox, watch out for these signs and symptoms if he has been in contact with another child who has chickenpox.

Vaccinating your child against chickenpox is one of the best ways to prevent them from contracting this highly contagious virus.

While the name conjures images of chickens running riot, chickenpox actually has nothing to do with poultry, and everything to do with a virus that causes skin lesions.

Chickenpox (varicella) is very common in children and causes an itchy rash and red spots or blisters all over the body. Children can be protected from chickenpox by getting the vaccine, which significantly reduces their chances of getting it. You can still, however, get chickenpox if you have been vaccinated, but vaccinated kids tend to get milder cases and have quicker recoveries compared to children who didn’t get the vaccine and contract the illness.

Symptoms of chickenpox

After an incubation period of two to three weeks, the following four symptoms may appear:

  1. A mild fever or headache and a sore throat that develops a few hours before the rash.
  2. The chickenpox rash usually appears about one or two days after the first symptoms start. Usually, the spotty rash first appears on the abdomen, back and face, and turns into itchy blisters later. After a few days, the blisters dry up and form scabs. Chickenpox appears in batches so your little one will usually have spots at different stages of the infection’s development.
  3. Spots in your child’s mouth can develop into ulcers and eating can become uncomfortable.
  4. Some children could develop chest infections.

Call your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Who’s at risk?

  • You’re at risk if you’ve never had chickenpox or if you haven’t had the chickenpox
  • Chickenpox can spread very easily. You can get it from an infected person who sneezes, coughs, or shares food or drinks.
  • You can also get it if you touch the fluid from a chickenpox blister.

Treatment for chickenpox

“The treatment for chickenpox is symptomatic. The fever, pain, and itchiness will be treated with the relevant medication,” says specialist paediatrician Dr Nancy Obor. If the infection is severe, your child may have to be admitted to the hospital. Children are no longer contagious after the blisters have crusted over, usually about 10 days after the first symptom start.