When I was in my early twenties I had an idea that I wanted to have my family quite young. I felt that having completed her family at 32, my mum was one of the older ones; pah – not remotely true these days, she was average! I’ve written about this before and I still believe that having children nearer your twenties than your thirties is biologically ideal, but of course it’s not the societal norm. I actually changed my mind about how I wanted to do things myself, in the end having my first daughter a year older than my mum had my elder brother! So, what changed for me? I cared for my toddler nephew for several days during which he contracted chickenpox, and I suddenly appreciated the extent of my naivety. I had no idea how to manage chickenpox in children and it was a steep learning curve!
In fairness, it wasn’t watching my nephew suffer that put me off having children for a fair few more years; it was the fact that whilst I was caring for him I was struck with a migraine. I don’t get them very often, but when I do the only way I can shift one is to go to sleep. Looking after a poorly child I just didn’t have that luxury. Suddenly I had the wake up call about what being a mum really means, and I decided I wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility.
How to Manage Chickenpox in Children
I’ve always feared the pox since that episode. My girls are yet to be hit with the illness; and I dread the day they are, whilst simultaneously wanting to get it over and done with because the older the child is, the worse it usually is. I guess that’s the reason some people choose to attend chickenpox parties, but given that the virus can (rarely) be caught more than once, they’re not for me.
For this post I’ve teamed up with Care ViraSoothe, the experts in providing chickenpox relief, to talk about the best ways to deal with the nasty childhood illness. The brand kindly sent me some bits to help us deal with chickenpox, if and when it strikes in our house; and I’m sure along with snuggling under blankets on the sofa with Disney for company, their thoughtful care package will prove invaluable.
If you’re unsure how to manage chickenpox in children while they’re suffering from the awful symptoms associated with the virus, here are some top tips:
The Best Home Remedies for Chickenpox
With a bad case of chickenpox, your child may develop spots in and around their genital area, mouth and even their eyes – hence it being the childhood illness I really dread! It’s imperative to keep your little one hydrated, and this may prove difficult if they’re affected inside the mouth. Try ice lollies if they’re refusing fluids.
- Antiviral Medication
This may be recommended in serious cases, or when the patient is younger than a year or older than 12. Check with your GP if you think it might be appropriate for your child.
Over the counter oral antihistamines can be useful for relieving the itch associated with chickenpox – but topical antihistamines should not be applied.
Can be taken to help with the feeling of being generally unwell, lowering a high temperature, etc.
Never give aspirin to children with chickenpox. This has been linked to liver disease and in rare cases even death.
Cooling Creams or Gels
Topical cooling ointments may help to relieve itching and soreness. ViraSoothe is great because it’s suitable for children over 6 months and can be used all over the face and body (avoid the eye area).
It’s vital to keep itching to a minimum if possible, because scratching can lead to broken skin and infection, which may cause scarring.
Baths are always a win to help soothe aching limbs, bring down a high temperature, and also relieve the dreaded itching. Also be sure to use extra soft face cloths, such as the one pictured.
When taking your child out of the tub, rubbing may irritate their rash so carefully pat dry instead.
Dress in Loose Clothing
In my house we wouldn’t be getting dressed at all – being unwell is a pass for being slovenly. Plus as well as being comforting, jammies are usually loose which is advised for during this period.
Finally, keep your child’s nails short and if possible, put a pair of socks on their hands when they sleep. It’s so important to prevent scratching as far as possible in order to avoid broken blisters, infections, and potential scarring.
Vaccination is not routinely available in the UK, however it may be recommended in some cases, such as for those in close contact with somebody who has a weakened immune system. Check with your GP if you feel this may apply to you or your family.
Keeping a Smile on Your Little One’s Face
Last year around Christmas time, I had two very poorly girls for what felt like eternity. In reality, it was ongoing for a couple of months. One of the greatest challenges during difficult periods of extended illness is keeping your children vaguely positive and upbeat – the struggle is real! Especially when you have more than one – whether or not they’re all unwell, because each scenario brings its own set of demands! Chilled out activities such as colouring, lots of cuddles, and days spent camped out on the sofa are my go-to choices. Of course, this is not always easy when every conversation is peppered with whimpering.
They look to you to make them feel better and often it’s a losing battle. Distraction is key and full-on. It’s utterly draining; not to mention the guilt…
Taking a little time to recharge and look after yourself once your child is in bed is also important! So it was a lovely touch to be sent a beautifully-scented candle to help me relax too. I might even do a bit of colouring if I get ten minutes to unwind.
If you’re currently looking after an unwell child, you have my sympathy. Take heart – this too shall pass: they’ll be back to their usual chaotic bundle of energy in no time. Something else to look forward to!
ViraSoothe is available in supermarkets and Boots stores nationwide and also online, retailing at £5.73 for 50g and £8.43 for 75g for the gel. The spray gel is £8.43 for 75g. For more information and advice, check out their online hub here.
This is a commissioned post; all views are my own.