Doctor Umm-e-Saarib Attariyyah
Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection that causes an itchy, spotty rash. It mostly affects children but adults can get it too. In Urdu, it is called Cheechak.
Loss of appetite, anxiety, fatigue, weakness, and a sore throat are early symptoms. These are usually followed by the onset of fever before red spots appear on the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body and might spread or stay in a small area. Very quickly, the spots fill with fluid and become blisters. Some people only have a few blisters whilst others can have up to 500. Normally, the fever begins to ease within five to seven days, and the blisters begin to scab over.
Chickenpox is caused by a virus called varicella-zoster. People become infected after being in contact with an infected child or adult. Generally, it only affects children mildly, however, it can be dangerous for newborns and people with weak immune systems. Until the blisters become dry, the infected person can spread the virus to others. You can catch chickenpox by being in the same room as someone with it. It's also spread by touching clothes or bedding that has fluid from the blisters on them. If you get chickenpox when you're pregnant, there's a small risk of your baby being very ill when it's born.
Treatment at Home
1. Give the paracetamol to the child to help with pain and fever.
2. The spots are very itchy, so take good care of the skin and do not allow the child to scratch the blisters.
3. Cut the nails of the child and put socks on your child's hands at night to stop scratching.
4. Clothe the child in loose clothing.
5. Bathe the child in cool water and pat the skin dry (do not rub). Keep her active and distract her from scratching by giving her toys.
6. Speak to your pharmacist about using cooling creams or gels to help relieve the itching.
7. Give the child plenty of fluid to drink (try ice lollies if your child is not drinking) to avoid dehydration.
8. As much as possible, make the child drink yoghurt drinks or eat yogurt as this cleanses the skin from the inside, making marks and blemishes on the surface of the skin disappear.
9. Wrap the patient in a thin cloth made from muslin.
10. Use essential oils or place fresh flowers near the pillow of the patient to ease discomfort.
When a healthy child reaches one year of age, they should be given the vaccination for chickenpox. If your child has not received this vaccination yet but has come into contact with someone who has chickenpox, getting the vaccination now can still protect him.
Keep the patient away from butter or foods containing butter as this can increase the inflammation.
Note: Every treatment should be undertaken only after consultation with your physician.