Monday, 10 March 2014

Chicken Pox Survival Guide

We’ve been blighted!! Chicken pox has struck Sprout’s House!! We awoke on Thursday morning to find that Sprout had a couple of red patches on her face. A little look at her tummy revealed more spots, and on her back a few more along with a giant spot which apparently is the ‘host’ spot.

So for the uninitiated (like us!), here’s

Chicken Pox Survival Guide

The Basics
Chicken Pox is a common childhood disease that’s caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It’s highly contagious and if an uninfected person comes into contact with the virus there is a 90% chance they will catch the disease.

The Symptoms
The first symptom is a watery nasal discharge that appears 1-2 days before the rash. This is also when your small peep will become contagious. As an initial heads-up/symptom, I’m not convinced how much use this will be to you as in most households a snotty nose is practically compulsory at all times. Other first symptoms may include generally feeling unwell, a temperature, loss of appetite, headache, aching muscles and feeling sick – again not that helpful!

The itchy rash appears soon after with spots generally popping up in clusters literally anywhere on the body including on soles of the feet, palms of the hands and in the nappy area! After another 12 hours or so, the spots will start to blister and the itchiness with increase. Within another 1-2 days, the blisters will dry up, crust over, and after 1-2 weeks the crusty skin will fall off.

The Treatment
Unfortunately there’s no cure, but there are several things we have been doing to alleviate Sprout’s symptoms –

Paracetamol - to help lower her temperature. (Ibuprofen is a no-no due to the risk of skin reactions. For more info about this - see here).

Piriton – to help stop the itch. (We only used this a couple of times in the first 24 hours before the Rhus Tox seemed to kick in.)

Rhus Tox 6c – a homeopathic remedy recommended to us by our lovely local health store. It helps to reduce the itchiness and lower fevers.

Calamine lotion – again to give her some relief from the itchiness. Apply to a cotton wool pad and gently dab on the spots.

Fingernails – cut her nails as short as we could to limit the damage to her skin if she did scratch.

Oaty Baths/Showers – grabbed an old pair of tights and filled one of the feet with a few tablespoons of oats. Hung the tights from the tap so they dangled in the running water. Gave the oats a good squeeze so the water became milky. The oats really seemed to help take some of the itch away. Sprout has loved having oaty baths, and we have even tried hanging the oats in the shower too. Not as effective probably, but every little helps!

The Survival Measures
The tricky thing with the ‘pox’ is new spots keep appearing for up to 3-5 days after the initial rash and your child will remain contagious until the last of these spots have scabbed over. Unfortunately, this can mean a week or more of being confined to the house, and once your small peep has perked-up a bit boredom is definitely going to set in. So here are the survival measures we have found particularly effective.....

Colouring – Sprout is quite an enthusiastic colourer so we have printed off some ‘Frozen’ colouring sheets plus we have photocopied a few sheets out of this doodle book to keep her occupied. (This is an affiliate link.)

Films – the last couple of days, especially in the afternoon, all Sprout has wanted to do is veg out in front of a DVD.... more often than not followed by a little snooze.

Oaty Baths – these have killed at least half an hour each night! Sprout also enjoyed spooning the oats into the tights!!

Fresh Air – a little spell in the garden each day has also helped Sprout to sleep better at night and provided a change of scene for us all!

Ice Lollies – Sprout has a very small appetite at the moment and she has said that swallowing hurts so we think that she probably has a couple of spots at the back of her throat too. We have bought some lollies from the supermarket, but we also plan on making some fruity ones together in the next few days to while away a bit more time.

Stories – a couple of new stories have helped divert her attention too.

iPad – any activity on the iPad is guaranteed to keep Sprout’s attention. Yesterday, she spent a good 20 minutes choosing which Elsa dress she hopes to get for her birthday complete with shoes and tiara!

Role play – unsurprisingly lots of Sprout’s stuffed animals have also got spots at the moment so both of us have taken turns pretending to treat them. This has also been quite good for reassuring Sprout that she won’t have spots forever!

Building Camps – this morning’s entertainment has revolved around building a camp in the sitting room! A couple of chairs with a blanket slung over the top seemed to do the trick….

Hopefully, that lot should keep us going for a few days!! I’ll add on any other activities that we do later in week.

How did you treat your little one’s chicken pox? How did you keep them amused whilst they were recovering? Leave your tips in the comments!

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no medical training whatsoever so if you are in any doubt at all about the health of yourself or someone you know please consult a doctor!!
Sprout’s House


  1. My kids all got immunized, so I'm hoping we'll skip out on this one! But, we once thought they had it, but it turned out to be hand, foot, and mouth disease instead!

    1. We've had hand, foot and mouth too! I didn't realise that you could immunize against chicken pox - not sure that it is offered in the UK. I could be wrong though!!

  2. My girl has battled with eczema all her life, and we also use what I call oat squishies for the bath (I tie a few of spoons of quick oats up in those knee-high pantyhose). I also put calamine lotion into a tiny travel spray bottle (Manicare make them), easier than wet cotton balls during the night. A little Peppermint oil in the bath is great also for cooling down hot itchy skin and that's a good fever buster too.

    Hope she's all better now. :0)

    1. Sprout loved her oaty baths. Have you tried putting Vaseline on your daughter's eczema patches before showering or bathing. I swear by it as I find that is the only way that the patches have any chance of drying up!! We also have a company called Green People who do great products for skin conditions - It may be worth seeing if they deliver to Australia or if your local health food shops stock any of their products! xox

  3. Oh gosh, we haven't experienced chicken pox yet (and I hope we don't) but we have also experienced hand foot & mouth. I remember when my husband had chicken pox, adults seem to get it a lot thing that really worked for him was something called Pinetarsol. It helped to stop the itch and I think you can get it in a cream and also bathe in it.

    1. Hi Eva, I've always heard that adult chicken pox is much worse than the children's version too! Hope your husband didn't suffer too much. xox

  4. Your girl is still smiling. Good tips here !