Know the Signs of Chickenpox
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
April 04, 2022
Category: Child Safety
The infamous chickenpox, a virus known to cause itchy blisters all over the body. It most often happens to school-age kids, but unfortunately, if you’ve never had this infection as a kid you could get it as an adult. There is a chickenpox vaccine that children should get from their pediatrician. The first dose is administered between 12-15 months old and the second and final dose is given between 4-6 years old. While the vaccine is designed to protect kids against the virus, sometimes children can still get a milder form.
What are the signs and symptoms of chickenpox?
Chickenpox is notorious for causing fluid-filled and intensely itchy blisters on the body. Chickenpox blisters typically appear about 10 to 21 days after being exposed to the virus, and symptoms can last up to 10 days. In the beginning, your child may only show symptoms of a cold including loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, headache, and overall malaise. They may also experience a stomachache or sore throat. These symptoms will often appear before the rash.
The rash often starts on the face or stomach and then spreads throughout the rest of the body. Once the blisters break open, they will crust over and eventually fall off. It’s important that kids do not scratch these blisters, as this can lead to infections and scarring.
Is there a way to treat chickenpox?
Since chickenpox is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not be effective at treating this infection. Most treatment options are aimed at providing relief from symptoms while the body gets rid of the infection. If your child is at risk for complications related to chickenpox, their pediatrician may prescribe antiviral medication. Simple home care can help to alleviate discomfort due to chickenpox. This includes taking oatmeal baths and applying cold compresses to the blisters.
Is chickenpox preventable?
Absolutely. There is a chickenpox vaccine that all kids can and should get from their pediatrician. Even if kids still end up getting chickenpox after getting the vaccine, their symptoms will be much milder. If your child has already had chickenpox then they do not need to get vaccinated as they already have lifelong immunity.
If you have questions or concerns about chickenpox, or whether your child should get vaccinated, don’t hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician to learn more.