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Chicken Pox in Children
The incidence of chicken pox has declined tremendously since a vaccine became available. It normally occurs in children under the age of 15 and is highly contagious to those who are not immune. The chicken pox virus (varicella virus) spreads easily through direct contact, contact with a contaminated item, and through the air as droplets from sneezing or coughing.
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Itchy rash. First, raised red or pink bumps (papules) appear, resembling insect bites. They later become fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) and eventually crust over. New bumps continue to appear for several days. The face, scalp, chest, and back are common sites but the rash can appear anywhere over the body and can even enter the eyes, throat, and vagina.
Other chicken pox symptoms that precede or accompany the rash include fever, headache, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, and a dry cough.
In healthy children, chicken pox is generally mild and usually lasts 5-10 days. Chicken pox symptoms can be more serious in infants, older children, and those with weak immune systems.
Once infected, the varicella virus normally lies dormant in the body for the rest of one's life. The recurrence of chicken pox is unlikely but it can later cause shingles in adults.
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Children with chicken pox should be isolated from those who are at risk of getting it until all vesicles have dried. Rest, warmth, and a light diet (including plenty of water and fresh fruit juices) are recommended.
The following home remedies for chicken pox can help relieve symptoms like itching and help in the healing process.
- Grind 2 cups of rolled oats in a blender to a fine powder. Add 1 cup of baking soda and the oatmeal powder to warm bath water and soak for 15 minutes to ease itching.
- Add margosa leaves to lukewarm bath water to relieve itching.
- Add 1 teaspoon of witch hazel leaves and 2 tablespoons of marigold flowers to 1 cup of water and let it sit overnight. This is an effective home remedy for chicken pox when applied over the rash to stop itching.
- Apply vitamin E oil over the rash to help heal and prevent scarring.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to 1 cup of cold water. Soak a washcloth in this solution and apply over the rash to comfort itchy skin.
- Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda to cool bath water to stop itching.
- Make a mouthwash by adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water to treat sores inside the mouth.
Other home remedies for chicken pox symptoms in children include herbal teas such as chamomile, echinacea, and goldenseal.
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