Chickenpox: How to Relieve the Itch

ChickenpoxThe chickenpox is a contagious disease that caused by the virus known as the varicella-zoster virus. It causes the skin to break out in a blister-like rash that results in itching, along with other flue-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue.

Chickenpox is most common in younger children, though individuals of all ages can also get the chickenpox. The virus can be highly contagious, especially for individuals who have not yet had the chickenpox or have not yet received the chickenpox vaccination. In order to protect your child against the chickenpox, Vancouver family physician, Dr. Ali Ghahary, recommends that children get the varicella vaccine between 12 and 15 months. Once children reach the ages of 4 to 6, a booster shot is also given to protect them further. While it’s uncommon for anyone who has had the vaccination to get the chickenpox, it is still possible, though the symptoms are usually much milder and you tend to recover faster than if you hadn’t received the vaccine.

As mentioned, one of the most common symptoms of the chickenpox is itching. The itching occurs when the blisters release chemicals that activate the nerves in the top layers of your skin, sending a signal to the brain. Similarly, the same chemical release occurs when a mosquito bites you. While it can be difficult to fight the urge to itch chickenpox, it is best to try to avoid itching them as much as possible – this is because the bacteria from underneath your fingernails can lead to infection. Itching chickenpox can also cause permanent scarring.

That being said, there are a number of home remedies other and steps that Dr. Ali Ghahary suggests trying to alleviate the symptoms of chickenpox, as outlined below.

Home Remedies for ChickenpoxTaking Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help to reduce the fever that is associated with the chickenpox. It can also help to reduce pain caused by the blisters. It is important to avoid giving young children anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, as these medications can lead to a complication known as Reye’s syndrome.

It’s also very important to wear loose-fitting clothing rather than stretchy, elastic-like clothing while you have the chickenpox, as the looser the clothing is, the better your skin is able to breathe. Taking cool oatmeal baths, dabbing calamine lotion onto the itching areas of the skin, as well as taking antihistamines can also help to relieve the itch.

Unfortunately there is no quick cure for the chickenpox once you have them, and they just have to take their course. When you have the chickenpox, you’ll find that the blisters usually don’t appear all at once, and instead form over several days. They will usually stop appearing, however, by day 7, though it can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days for the virus to be out of your system completely.

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