Tips and tricks for Chicken Pox
December 14, 2008 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Chicken Pox, or not? Also, what tricks or tips have you learned in your experiences with Chicken Pox?

So far, they are mostly along her right side. There are what look to be a couple on her leg, and a handful on her arm, but most of them seem to be on her right side, from her armpit to her hip.

From checking images on the web, they look similar to Chicken Pox, but I am interested in knowing if it could be a rash, or if anybody has any other insight to what this may be.

Also, please give me any advice, tricks, or tips you may have on Chicken Pox.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
posted by B(oYo)BIES to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not a dermatologist, and it's hard to say based on the photos, but it looks less like chicken pox then possibly molluscum contagiosum. I'd get that checked out. Those may be communicable.
posted by drpynchon at 7:47 PM on December 14, 2008

Like drpynchon said, a trip to the doctor to be sure is probably a wise first step.

If you find out that it is chicken pox, here are some care tips. Basically, you want to minimize scratching as much as you can, because the pox can get infected and/or scar if they're scratched open. If the itching gets bad, warm baths with Aveeno Bath (this is an oatmeal bath available at the drugstore) will help soothe her. If you put calamine lotion on the pox (the pink stuff from a bottle), that'll help stop the itching in between baths. Watch for fever, too -- some kids get a fever with chicken pox, others don't.

The good news is that chicken pox will go away on its own in a couple of weeks, so just keep her comfy and well-fed until then.

DO NOT give aspirin under ANY circumstances -- aspirin given to children with chicken pox can trigger Reye Syndrome. Ask your doctor about giving acetaminophen (children's Tylenol) if fever, headache, or painful pox (like in the mouth and nose) appear.
posted by vorfeed at 7:51 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tips and tricks? Better to get it over with as a child than as an adult.

it is annoying, but second the bath. Lots and lots of baths.

If you have not had it, be very careful - my dad picked it up when we kids had it and he was very sick, it lasted a couple of weeks for us, but a couple of months for him and went to his lungs.
posted by wingless_angel at 9:24 PM on December 14, 2008

If you don't have Aveeno, just pout baking soda into the bath water. It helps with most rashes and hives, not just chicken pox.
posted by metahawk at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Remember to call your doctor and let them know that you think it might be chicken pox before you bring her into the office. Some doctors don't want people with chicken pox sitting in the general waiting room.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:09 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

IANAD, but that definitely looks like what *my* chicken pox looked like. Definitely worth a trip to the doctor.

If you / other adults in the house haven't had chicken pox, now is the time to start being very careful about hand-washing, laundry, etc.

Cut those nails! Soon she will be scratching like no other, and having very short, very clean nails will help a lot.

Nthing Aveeno.

Distraction is going to be a big part of the game plan, so start thinking about low-key activities to do, special or new DVDs to watch, and other little things to make the time go faster. My parents had a stash of cheap toys that got broken out when we were sick, which made things a little better.

I actually still have a generic kids "get well" greeting card that my grandparents sent me, covered in red ink spots to represent the pox. I remember it being almost a rite-of-passage thing in my house.

Also, depending on what kind of parenting philosophies your friends subscribe to, it might be time to have a chicken pox party once you get a diagnosis!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:16 PM on December 14, 2008

Was your child vaccinated against varicella?
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:42 AM on December 15, 2008

Benadryl helps relieve the systems. It helped unbelievably with the itch and with the flu-ish feeling that accompanied my chicken pox. Also, a friend's mom suggested cutting the foot off a nylon stocking, filling it with oatmeal, tying it closed, and rubbing it on itchy skin in the bath tub.

Remember to call your doctor and let them know that you think it might be chicken pox before you bring her into the office. Some doctors don't want people with chicken pox sitting in the general waiting room.

bottlebrush is so right. Chicken pox is incredibly contagious, and it can especially miserable for adults, as wingless_angel notes. (I got it at age 31.)
posted by isogloss at 3:03 AM on December 15, 2008

Calamine lotion, benadryl and oatmeal baths. Try to avoid stress as much as possible. Don't itch the welts.

I found as a 2 time sufferer that relaxing as much as possible is helpful. Stress can exacerbate the rash. When I break out, I usually try to use more than one anti-histamine, like loratidine (claratin) which lasts 24 hours and then using benadryl lotion (or the store brand) so that I am not using two benadryl products together. The benadryl will also help with the hardest part - to help the kiddo sleep :)

Also, find activities that are gentle but fun. My gramma made my sister a teddy bear from old fabric scraps and hosery ( Sis still has it now!!) We had coloring books, watched TV and it was great.
posted by agentsarahjane at 3:52 AM on December 15, 2008

Yeah, call the doc before you go-it is dangerous for pregnant women to be around chicken pox if they have not had it yet.

(I had it when I was thirty. Best to have it as a child if one has it at all.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:56 AM on December 15, 2008

The "umbilicated center" seen in a few pictures (on some of the lesions) is common for mulloscum like drpynchon said. However the lesions don't seem to show "different ages of healing" which is common in chicken pox. However, if you child has not received the varicella immunization (?!) definitely go to a pediatrician (preferably an older one because kids don't get too much chicken pox these days).
posted by ruwan at 7:24 AM on December 15, 2008

3rding molluscum contagiosum, but the easy trick there would be, "Are they itchy?" Molluscum is not itchy. If not, see a derm about molluscum. (IANAD) My daughter had that. If that's what it is, get the blister beetle medicine. It's the chemical that some beetle shoots at things that try to eat it. It is magic. We spent at least $400 at the pediatrician on visits and creams trying to get rid of this, finally went to a dermatologist, cleared it right up. It makes big blisters (which don't hurt, just look bad) and then they pop and the Molluscum is gone.

IIRC, chicken pox is redder with a more yellow center blister. And, if I recall my chicken pox correctly, there should be visible claw marks surrounding each pox!
posted by artychoke at 8:03 AM on December 15, 2008

Oh, but be warned, If it's molluscum, the Dermatologist may prescribe Aldara which is common treatment for Genital warts. So, plan to feel a little self conscious at picking it up for your, what, five year old?
posted by artychoke at 8:06 AM on December 15, 2008

If it is chicken pox, one thing that I remember being surprised by was that, in addition to the itching, my son, in general, felt like shit. He ran a low-grade fever and needed lots of soothing just because he felt bad. I had a vision in my head of kids who felt find but were just a little itchy so keep up the tylenol or ibuprofen and the sympathy for that as well. My son's chicken pox started out looking like one little bug bite and quickly (in 24 hours) progressed to over his whole body so just one side seems a little suspicious. Also, times may changed (this was before they had the vaccine even) but the last thing my doctor wanted me to do was to bring him into the office! So give your doctor a call, but don't be surprised if they don't do see her.
posted by katyjack at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2008

Re artychoke's comments: molluscum can in fact be itchy, artychoke. And Aldara is used now for all manner of things beyond genital warts (not that your pharmacist would even flinch at such a thing anyway).
posted by drpynchon at 9:27 AM on December 15, 2008

If it is chicken pox I'd not only cut your child's nails but buy a pair of cotton gloves for him/her to wear at night while asleep.

I thought the itching didn't start with CP until the pustules started to dry up. Aveno oatmeal baths will help.

My sister and I never got CP as children. I got it when I was a freshman at college at 18 and my sister got it when she was 35. No immunization back then. And, know that the CP shots only partially bestow immunity. A booster may be required.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:59 AM on December 15, 2008

drpynchon - I didn't actually think the pharmacist cared, it was just a surprise to see what the package said when I got home with the medicine for my five year old daughter. Would have been good to know ahead of time, I thought. When it was prescribed for my son's warts (we are a warty family, apparently) the dermatologist warned me in a voice that implied that many people were upset when seeing what the medicine was really for.
posted by artychoke at 12:23 PM on December 15, 2008

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