Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is a common infection caused by a virus, resulting in a rash and fever. It can be prevented or greatly reduced by Varivax vaccination which can be given as early as 12 months of age. There is often one day of not feeling well before the rash breaks out. The rash begins with red bumps that look like insect bites, which then develop into blisters containing clear fluid. The fluid may become cloudy before the blisters begin to crust over and scab. The rash can be anywhere on the skin, scalp or in the mouth, throat or vagina. After being exposed, the illness begins in 10-21 days and will last 5-7 days. Your child can infect others from 2 days before the rash appears until the last blisters completely scab over.

Relief of itching is very important to keep your child comfortable. Lukewarm baths with Aveeno or baking soda ('/z cup) or applying calamine lotion to the blisters can reduce the itching. Antihistamines such as Benadryl may also provide some relief. Only acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra), not aspirin, should be used for fever. The fingernails should be kept short to avoid scratching and infecting the sores.

Call the office if your child develops vomiting for more than 4 hours, extreme sleepiness or difficulty waking, severe cough, chest pain, or shortness of breath, severe stomach pain or if the skin around the sores becomes red, warm and tender.