Chickenpox is a contagious viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). This infection commonly affects toddlers, and occurrences usually happen around the winter seasons and sometimes early in spring.
As chickenpox is a virus, your baby will present himself with symptoms typical to a viral infection. These symptoms may include:
- Headaches & Lethargy
- Decreased appetite
- An intensely itchy skin rash – first this may appear as a cluster of small blisters (fluid-filled) encompassed in odd-shaped, inflamed skin patches.
Note that your baby may experience a different amount of blisters than other children, so even if there is a little amount of spots that resemble chickenpox, raise alarms and take your baby to your GP to get checked.
How can your baby ‘catch’ chickenpox?
The varicella-zoster virus may only affect someone if it has been transferred from an infected individual. Ways that one may transfer the virus to another is by direct contact with the blisters, or by inhaling air near an infected person that has just coughed or sneezed.
What can you do to help?
Vaccinations are a great way to protect your child from chickenpox – this vaccine is usually available at around 18 months. However, if you are someone that has mixed feelings about vaccinations, we strongly encourage you to converse with your GP about vaccinations, and that way you can make an informed decision about whether you would like to vaccinate your baby or not.
Once your baby has chickenpox, your target is to reduce his fever and his itchiness (the blisters could leave scarring, so prompt your child to not itch his skin). Most medical professionals recommend infant paracetamol, anti-itch creams, rest and lots of fluids. As every baby is different, it is best to consult your GP for the safest medical advice for the health of your child.
You must wait until your babies’ blisters have dried until they can be sent back to day-care/preschool, or wherever they may be exposed to other children. The rash does not even have to have appeared on your baby’s skin for the virus to be transmissible, therefore it is best to notify your day-care/preschool about your child’s infection in order to let the parents of other children know, as their children may have to be vaccinated.
When certain that your child has chickenpox, ensure to be mindful to not send him near other children, as some have not been vaccinated against the virus.