My 12 month old son recently had chickenpox, which I wasn’t really expecting at his age. Here are my top five tips for surviving this common childhood illness so you can be more prepared than I was.
As with most childhood-related complaints, Calpol is your friend. It’s great for easing their discomfort and bringing down a high temperature.
While Ibuprofen is normally considered better at controlling a temperature, don’t be tempted to use it while your child has chickenpox as there is some research that suggests it can increase the risk of developing a more serious skin complaint. If, however, like me, you didn’t realise this until a couple of days in, don’t panic! It is only a small possibility and I can happily report that my boy is recovering well with no further complications.
If Calpol is your friend, Piriton is your BFF when it comes to Chickenpox. We used it throughout and can honestly say the boy barely scratched at all. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been if he had been incredibly itchy – how do you explain not to scratch to a one year old?!
3. Calamine lotion.
As with Piriton, calamine lotion was brilliant to help ease those pesky itchy spots. Simply wet a cotton wool ball with the lotion and wipe over the infected areas. We found that putting some on as needed during the day and then after a bath in the evening seemed to really help the boy feel more comfortable.
4. Oat bath.
When I was told about this home remedy, I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical. I’m not someone who believes in many home remedy or alternative therapies, but how wrong was I? The first day of chickenpox was horrible – the boy was clearly uncomfortable and frustrated – so the almost instant relief when I put him in his first oat bath that afternoon was amazing.
Simply wrap porridge oats in a muslin cloth and tie with an elastic band (or, in our case, a hair bobble!) to create a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Hold the ball under the running water as you draw the bath to make the water milky. You can also gently wipe the wet muslin ball over their skin, or, as the boy preferred, squeeze the wet ball so some of the milkiness emerges through the material onto your hand and gently rub this over their skin throughout the bath. Rinse gently with water before drying.
5. Love, patience and sympathy.
Chickenpox can be frustrating for you as well as the poor infected child. After a few days they are back to their normal selves, but you have to keep them in isolation until every single spot has scabbed over to ensure they are no longer contagious. Cue a bored, annoyed small person who doesn’t understand why they are being kept hostage.
As well as giving plenty of cuddles and love during the bit when they are actually ill, don’t forget that this stage must be confusing for them too. Keep the cuddles and love flowing, even when you feel like tearing your own hair out and try to come up with as many ways to entertain them as possible. It may seem like forever now, but it will soon pass.