NHS Service

How to care for your child with chickenpox?

Of all the childhood illnesses, chickenpox is probably one of the least serious and usually clears up within a week or two with just home nursing and supporting over the counter medicines.

What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection which is caused by a virus.  It was once so common amongst young children that parents would have chickenpox parties to get it over with.  A vaccine was introduced in the 1990s and now the incidence of chickenpox has decreased significantly.  Contact Touchwood Pharmacy if you are looking for the chickenpox vaccination in Northolt.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?
is characterised by a red rash or spots which can appear anywhere on the body.  They are itchy and may blister, filling with fluid.  These can scab over whilst other spots continue to appear.  The spots can be accompanied by:-

  • a high temperature or fever so over 38C
  • a feeling of illness and being generally unwell
  • loss of appetite

Sometimes the high temperature and feeling of illness can act as a preview for the spots which appear later confirming the illness.  Sometimes, the spots can appear first.

It is always important to confirm that it is chickenpox.  This doesn’t always have to involve a trip to the GP or hospital although many parents worry with the rash that it could be meningitis but the spots present quite differently with chickenpox.  Adults can catch chickenpox but are much less likely to.  The illness is usually much more severe in adults than in children.

The treatment for chickenpox

There is no antibiotic treatment for chickenpox, nursing is purely supportive to help manage the symptoms.

  • Ensure the child drinks plenty of fluids
  • Paracetamol so Calpol can be used to help lower temperature and ease discomfort
  • Cut their nails and put scratch mitts on infants at night
  • Loose clothing can help relieve bodily irritation
  • A pharmacy can advise on a range of topical cooling gels and creams