Chicken Pox in Babies

While chicken pox, also known as varicella, is part of the herpes viruses and can start out as a rash in children, it can turn into something that can be possibly dangerous if it goes untreated. Children under 10 years of age are the most common sufferers of this viral infection and one of the main symptoms is a rash. More than 90% of adults have actually had chicken pox before and are immune to it. The months that kids are most susceptible to this condition are winter and spring, especially from March to May.

Symptoms of Chicken Pox in Babies

The symptoms of chicken pox are fairly vague and can be symptoms of several other diseases. See if your child has one or more of the following symptoms, then see your doctor to confirm whether your baby has chicken pox.

1. Flu-Like Symptoms

Chicken pox is most serious in people who have a compromised immune system, but it can still be serious in children who are otherwise healthy. One of the early symptoms of chicken pox in babies is similar to that of flu, including headache, nausea, fever, pains, and low or no appetite.

2. Rash

As the disease progress, a rash with little red spots and tiny blisters filled with a fluid will show up on the skin, usually the face first. After that you will find that the rash will have spread to the stomach and chest area.

3. Blister

Your child may get so many blisters which spread out all over the body or he may just get a few here and there. Within four to five days the blisters will have begun to dry up. The most painful areas to get these blisters are the scalp, the throat and mouth and the genital area. As the condition progresses, new blisters may begin to spring up.

Causes and Transmission of Chicken Pox

The chicken pox is brought about by the herpes varicella-zoster virus. It is transmitted by droplets carried in a cough or sneeze, or by contacting the bed linens, clothing and oozing blisters of an affected person. The symptoms usually show up within 10 to 21 days after you exposed to it. You are most contagious a couple of days before the rash is evident or once the rash is almost completely dry or has scabs.

How to Deal With Chicken Pox in Babies At Home

Babies with weak immune systems or other severe health issues should be taken to the doctors immediately in order to get the best and timely treatment. Generally speaking, as with most viruses, chicken pox can heal gradually on its own, although it cannot be treated with antibiotics. But there are things you can do to help it along.

  • Acetaminophen can be given to bring down the fever, but remember any babies who are less than three months old should be seen by a doctor by the first sign of a fever.
  • Make sure your baby has lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. You can give your baby extra bottle or breast feeds, or water if he is formula-fed.
  • You can use calamine lotion or put baking soda in the bath to relieve the itchiness. If your baby is old enough and experiences annoying itchiness at night, you can ask the doctor to prescribe antihistamine which has a sedating effect to help your baby have more sound sleep.
  • Keep your baby's nails short so he is not tempted to scratch the blisters, which help prevent infection and scarring.
  • Give your baby loose cotton clothing which helps to keep your baby cool and reduce the itchiness.

When to Seek Medical Help for Chicken Pox in Babies

You should take your baby to the doctor:

  • If it appears your child may have chicken pox;
  • If an adult family member who takes care of the baby gets chicken pox;
  • If your child have a painful rash that may have a green discharge or a painful red rash;
  • If chicken pox is accompanied by persistent lethargy or sleepiness, a stiff neck or other symptoms indicating something more serious such as encephalitis or meningitis, seek a doctor without delay;
  • If your baby is vomiting, runs a fever, is drowsy or has convulsions, seek doctor's help immediately;
  • If you are pregnant, have never had chicken pox, but get exposed to it, you may get this disease and put you unborn baby in danger. Do seek immediate medical help.

You Can Prevent Chicken Pox in Babies with Vaccine

The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed a vaccine that has been available since 1995. The suggested time frame for the vaccine is from 12 to 15 months and again from 4 to 6 years of age. The vaccine prevents more than 95% of children from getting serious forms of chicken pox and it has few side effects. But your child should not get the vaccine if he or she is allergic to gelatin or neomycin, which is an antibiotic that was originally used as the vaccine.

Watch the following video to know more information about chicken pox's transmission, symptom, treatment, etc.: 

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