|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
- Chickenpox starts with some small water blisters or pimples on the head and trunk.
- Chickenpox progress within 24 hours through the next 5 stages:
- 1) small red bumps
- 2) thin-walled water blisters
- 3) cloudy blisters
- 4) open sores, and finally
- 5) dry brown crusts.
- Rash is all over the body. Most often, starts on the head and back.
- Repeated crops of new chickenpox keep appearing for 4 to 5 days. Therefore, all 5 stages are present at same time.
- Sores (ulcers) can also occur in the mouth, on eyelids, and on genitals.
- Fever is most often present. The more the rash, the higher the fever.
- Known contact to a child with chickenpox 10 - 21 days earlier
- Main complication: Skin infections from scratching.
- Chickenpox is caused by a virus. It is called Varicella. Chickenpox can be prevented by getting this vaccine.
Return to School
- Your child can go back to school after all the sores have crusted over. Most often, this is day 6 or 7 of the rash.
|CARE ADVICE FOR CHICKENPOX|
- What You Should Know:
- Chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus.
- It's now uncommon because of the chickenpox vaccine.
- Your job is to keep your child comfortable and to limit the itching.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Cool Baths:
- For itching, give cool or lukewarm baths for 10 minutes as often as needed.
- Caution: Avoid any chill.
- Can add baking soda 2 ounces (60 ml) per tub.
- Baths don't spread the chickenpox.
- Do not use soaps. Reason: Soaps cause dry skin and make the itch worse.
- Calamine Lotion for Itching:
- Put calamine lotion on the chickenpox that itch the most.
- You can also use an ice cube on the itchy spots for 10 minutes.
- Don't use any lotion containing Benadryl in it. Reason: It can be absorbed across the skin. This can cause side effects in kids.
- Benadryl Medicine for Itching:
- If itching becomes severe or interferes with sleep, give Benadryl by mouth. See Dose Table.
- Try Not to Scratch:
- Try not to let your child pick and scratch at the sores. This can lead to infected sores.
- Trim fingernails.
- Wash hands often with soap.
- Fever Medicine:
- Give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for fever above 102° F (39° C).
- Never use aspirin. Reason: Risk of Reye syndrome.
- Also, don't use ibuprofen. Reason: May increase risk of bad strep skin infections.
- Fluids and Soft Diet:
- The mouth and throat ulcers are painful. Try to get your child to drink adequate fluids.
- Goal: Keep your child well hydrated.
- Cold drinks, milk shakes, popsicles, slushes, and sherbet are good choices.
- Solids. Offer a soft diet. Also, avoid foods that need much chewing. Avoid citrus, salty, or spicy foods. Note: Fluid intake is more important than eating any solids.
- For babies, you may need to stop the bottle. Give fluids by cup, spoon or syringe instead. Reason: The nipple can increase the pain.
- Liquid Antacid for Mouth Pain:
- For mouth pain, use a liquid antacid such as Mylanta or the store brand. Give 4 times per day as needed. After meals often is a good time. Age: For children over 1 year old.
- For children over age 6, can use 1 teaspoon (5 ml) as a mouth wash. Keep it on the ulcers as long as possible. Then can spit it out or swallow it.
- For younger children age 1 to 6, put a few drops in the mouth. Can also put it on with a cotton swab.
- Caution: Do not use regular mouth washes, because they sting.
- For Pain With Passing Urine:
- For girls with painful genital ulcers, put petroleum jelly on them as needed.
- For severe pain, use a numbing ointment such as 2.5% xylocaine ointment. No prescription is needed. Use this 4 times per day.
- For males with painful pox on the tip of the penis, this also works.
- Return to School:
- Your child can go back to school after all the sores have crusted over.
- Most often, this is day 6 or 7 of the rash.
- What to Expect:
- Expect new chickenpox every day for 4 or 5 days.
- Most children get 400 to 500 chickenpox.
- They get less pox if they've had the vaccine.
- Prevent the Spread of Chickenpox in the Office:
- If your child needs to be seen, call first to the office.
- Try to bring another adult. Have one adult enter the office first for instructions.
- For nonurgent problems, the doctor may do an exam in the car.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Chickenpox look infected (draining pus, scabs become larger)
- Gets any new chickenpox after day 6
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
This free app has a symptom checker,
dosage tables for common medications,
home health advice and more.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/13/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.