Has your child got an itchy, uncomfortable rash? You might want to check out whether it’s chickenpox. Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection caused by the virus varicella zoster, which mostly occurs in children under the age of 15, though anybody can get it.
A rash caused by chickenpox usually develops on the face, back, and chest before spreading to other parts of the body. The rash starts out as raised red spots which develop into itchy blisters filled with fluid which eventually dry out. Other symptoms of this condition include fever, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite. Chickenpox usually presents as a mild infection that lasts for 5–10 days and can be looked after at home.1 However, adults, pregnant women, babies under four weeks, and people with weak immune systems (for instance, those undergoing chemotherapy or affected by HIV) are at risk of it progressing to a severe stage and should get medical attention if they contract chickenpox.2 Meanwhile, here are a few tips on dealing with chickenpox at home:
1. Drink Lots
Of Fluids Through The Day
Drink lots of fluids so that you don’t get dehydrated. And avoid foods that are hard, salty, or spicy which may irritate chickenpox spots in the mouth. Soft, bland foods (for instance, soup that has cooled down) are better.3
2. Wear Gloves And Socks At Night
The rash caused by chickenpox can be really itchy but scratching it can lead to infection. So it’s important to resist that itch. Keep your nails clean to lower the chances of bursting a blister and try patting your skin instead of scratching when it gets itchy. Also, wear gloves (or socks on) at night so that you don’t scratch while you’re asleep. Wearing smooth, loose, clothes in a comfortable fabric like cotton can also be helpful.
3. Try Neem
Neem leaves are known for their antiviral properties and they can combat the varicella zoster virus. Steep neem leaves in hot water to make a mild tea which can be helpful.4 You can also soak neem leaves in water and bathe in it. This will help relieve itching and soothe your skin.5
4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a go-to home remedy for dealing with that itchy chickenpox rash. Dilute one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and apply it to the chicken pox blisters. The acidity helps ease itching and also quickens the drying process of the blisters. However, this might not be a good idea if your blisters have broken open and you have open sores.6
5. Soak In Oatmeal
Oats have been used topically to relieve itching for ages. Finely ground oats become a gooey mass which coats the skin and soothes it when it’s mixed with water. So add a small amount of ground oats into your bath
6. Treat With Honey
Another remedy for dealing with chickenpox has been sitting on your kitchen counter all along – honey! According to research, honey is effective at combating the varicella zoster virus. And spreading some honey on your blisters can not only tackle the virus but also soothe your skin.9 So if you’re looking for an inexpensive, easily available treatment, pick up that bottle of honey.
7. Try Baking Soda
Baking soda is also commonly used to relieve itchy skin. You can add a little baking soda to a glass of water and sponge off irritated skin for relief. Adding a little baking soda to your bathwater can be helpful too.10
8. Take A Chamomile Bath
Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be effective at relieving itchy skin. Add it to your bath water and enjoy a long soak to experience its soothing effects.11
9. Use Calamine Lotion
Calamine lotion can soothe itchy skin. So dab a little calamine lotion on affected parts with a cotton swab and let it dry on your skin. Also, do remember to shake the bottle before using the lotion.12
10. Try Homeopathy
You can also check out homeopathic remedies to help you deal with chickenpox. Homeopathy recommends applying calendula (marigold) oil and grindelia (gum weed) in liquid form to chickenpox rashes to relieve itching and promote healing. Your homeopathic doctor may also prescribe medicines like Rhus tox (made from poison ivy) or sulfur to deal with itchy pocks.13
|↑1, ↑8, ↑12||Chickenpox. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑2||Chickenpox. National Health Service.|
|↑3||Treatments for chickenpox. National Health Service.|
|↑4||Krishnan, Y. U. V. A. N. E. S. W. A. R. A. N., and N. K. Wong.
|↑5||Conrick, John. Neem: The ultimate herb. Lotus Press, 2001.|
|↑6||Zand, Janet, Allan N. Spreen, and James B. LaValle. Smart medicine for healthier living. Penguin, 1999.|
|↑7||Bedi, Monica K., and Philip D. Shenefelt. “Herbal therapy in dermatology.” Archives of dermatology 138, no. 2 (2002): 232-242.|
|↑9||Shahzad, Aamir, and Randall J. Cohrs. “In vitro antiviral activity of honey against varicella zoster virus (VZV): a translational medicine study for potential remedy for shingles.” Translational biomedicine 3, no. 2 (2012).|
|↑10||Bakhru, H. K. Natural Home Remedies for Common Ailments.
|↑11, ↑13||Zand, Janet, Allan N. Spreen, and James B. LaValle. Smart medicine for healthier living. Penguin, 1999.|