Chicken pox is a common childhood infection that is highly contagious and caused by the varicella- zoster virus, the same virus that causes shingles. The virus can spread by contact with skin and clothing or by the exchange of bodily fluids which can be transferred by sneezing and coughing.
Chicken pox is characterized by itchy red bumps which can eventually develop into blisters. Additional symptoms associated with chicken pox are fever, sore throat, loss of appetite and body aches.
If left untreated chicken pox may lead to other complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, inflammation of the brain or toxic shock syndrome.
The first step parents should take in treating a child with chicken pox is bringing them to see their pediatrician to confirm that they have the virus. If diagnosed with chicken pox, there are several methods of treatment the physician may choose. Your pediatrician may prescribe antiviral medications and will advise you to keep your child at home and away from others who are at risk for contracting the virus.
While at home, there are several remedies and practices that you can use to bring relief to your child. Some of which include:
- Ensuring proper hydration.
- Adding oatmeal or baking soda to baths.
- Applying calamine lotion to relieve itching.
- Gargling salt mixed in warm water to bring relief to mouth sores.
- Trimming fingernails or covering hands to prevent scratching. Scratching can lead to an infection.
The best way to prevent chicken pox is to get your child vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children should receive two doses of the vaccine. The first dose is usually given around 12-15 months of age and the second at around 18 months. If you believe your child has chicken pox and would like to make an appointment with a pediatrician please call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718 206 7050.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.