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            CHICKEN POX

Although most cases of chickenpox heal without complications, sometimes medical attention is required. Call the doctor if any of the following conditions develop:

  • A rash involving an eye
  • Continued dehydration, vomiting, or decreased fluid intake
  • Secondary skin infections

Signs of bacterial infection include the following:

  • Blisters leak a thick, yellow or green fluid.
  • Areas around a blister are red, increasingly painful, or swollen, or have red streaking extending from the site.

If someone with chickenpox begins to breathe with difficulty, shows confusion, disorientation, or appears extremely sleepy and becomes difficult to wake up, go immediately to a hospital's Emergency Department. In addition, any seizures or high Fever accompanied by headaches and vomiting need prompt emergency evaluation.

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Self-Care at Home

Most cases of chickenpox can be managed at home. Chickenpox rash tends to be extremely itchy. Several treatments can be used at home to help a child feel better.

Cool compresses applied to blisters may give relief, as may calamine lotion.

You can give cool-water baths every 3-4 hours, adding baking soda to the water to calm itching. You may also soak in an Aveeno oatmeal bath to soothe itching blisters.

Trimming fingernails can help prevent infection from scratching the blisters. If you have a small infant with chickenpox, cover the child's hands with mittens to minimize scratching.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or other oral antihistamines also can relieve itching. These medicines are available over-the-counter.

Treat Fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Read the label before giving any medication. Some medicines contain many agents. If the medicine is for a child, make sure it contains no aspirin. Never give aspirin to a child because aspirin has been associated with Reye syndrome.

Occasionally a child will develop blisters in the mouth, making eating or drinking painful. A person must continue to drink fluids to prevent dehydration. To alleviate pain, provide cold fluids (ice pops are one suggestion) and soft bland foods. Avoid any foods that are spicy, hot, or acidic (for instance, orange juice).

Keep children at home from school and daycare until all blisters have crusted. A child with chickenpox is extremely contagious until the last crop of blisters has crusted.

If you take your child to a doctor's office, call ahead to let the staff know that you think your child has chickenpox. They may usher you to a special waiting or treatment room to avoid exposing other children.

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