Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is an infection by a virus. It causes a fever and an itchy rash. The rash starts as a small red bump, then turns into a small blister in a short time. New blisters form for 3 to 4 days.

The incubation time of chickenpox is 2 to 3 weeks. Chickenpox is contagious from just before the rash, to 5 days later or until the blisters are crusted, whichever period is shorter. It takes about 2 weeks for the scabs to fall off.

Fever Control:

  • use acetaminophen (Tylenol®) unless there is an allergy to Tylenol.
  • do NOT use Aspirin® – this could lead to Reyes Syndrome which causes brain and liver damage.

Itch Control:

  • use an over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl® plain, or Benadryl Elixir® for children
  • use plain calamine lotion on the rash, but not on any sores in the mouth
  • use lukewarm water baths for the first few days – add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water – the person can bathe for 30 minutes – oatmeal bath products like Aveeno® many help
  • keep cool and dry – sweating and overheating will make the itch worse – avoid the sun

Prevent Scratching:

  • keep fingernails cut short
  • wash hands with soap that kills germs
  • put socks on your child’s hands at night

If there are mouth sores …

  • use mouth wash or gargle with double-strength tea with a little sugar – popsicles may help soothe the mouth

Give plenty of fluids:

Use cool liquids like water, milk and apple juice. Avoid orange juice and salty foods.