A viral infection which causes a blister-like, itchy rash is known as chickenpox. It is very contagious for people who have never had the disease or never been vaccinated against it. Before the routine vaccination for chickenpox, just about all people had been infected by the time they got to adulthood and some people may have experienced serious complications. Today, the number of cases and hospitalizations is dramatically lower than it was. There are home remedies for chickenpox that can help alleviate the symptoms if you do get this disease.
Home Remedies for Chickenpox
If you scratch, it can cause scarring, slow healing and increase the risk of infection. If your child can’t stop the scratching, you should trim their fingernails and put gloves on their hands, at night especially.
Prevent the Infection from Spreading
If your child or you have chickenpox, do not go back to school, work or day care until all blisters are crusted over. This generally takes about 10 days after the first appearance of your symptoms. Stay away from anyone who is not immune from chickenpox to prevent it from spreading.
Try Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great home remedy for chickenpox and can relieve the irritation of the blisters and rashes that are present with chickenpox.
Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with water and sponge it onto the chickenpox. Leave it on the affected skin to dry so as to relieve itching. You can use up to 3 tablespoons of baking soda.
Use half a cup of baking soda and mix it with warm water and bathe in this solution. If you prefer, take a cool bath instead.
Take Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal works well to sooth the skin, relieving itchiness from blisters and rashes.
Fill a bathtub with warm water and blend 2 cups of oatmeal in a blender to get a fine powder.
While the bathtub is filling up, swirl the powder around into the water.
Soak in the milky water. Bits of oatmeal will be left on your skin and hair; however, it will relieve the itchiness of your skin.
Try Epsom Salt Bath
Not an actual salt, but rather a mineral compound, Epsom salt contains sulfate and magnesium which can be very useful in reliving chickenpox itch, soothing inflammation and relieving pain.
Fill your bathtub up with warm water.
Add 2 cups of Epsom salt into it and mix it until it's completely dissolved.
Soak in this mixture for around 15 minutes or longer if you like.
When you get out of the tub, pat your body dry gently with a towel and be careful not to damage your blistered skin.
Soak daily in Epsom salt until your chickenpox is healed.
A majority of cases of chickenpox need little to no treatment beyond the home remedies for chickenpox. However, some medications can provide help.
The prescription antiviral drug acyclovir is good for shortening the length of the symptoms of chickenpox and could be recommended to certain groups of people, such as pregnant women, anyone with a weakened immune system and adults who look for medical advice within 24 hours of the first appearance of rashes.
Your doctor might recommend an antihistamine for pain, swelling and itching along with over-the-counter painkillers.
Antibiotics are needed if a secondary bacterial skin infection appears or if you develop bacterial pneumonia.
Eat the Right Food for Chickenpox
Particular foods should be added into and removed from meals for those have chickenpox to prevent undue stress on the digestive system and boost your immune system so as to speed up the recovery process. Therefore, you should:
Raise your intake of fresh fruit juices and vegetables to keep you hydrated and to improve your immunity.
Stay away from fatty junk food and processed foods and avoid foods which are difficult to digest, such as deep-dish cheese pizza, potato chips, instant ramen, fried foods, red meat and spicy foods etc.
Eat foods which are high in vitamin C and A, magnesium, zinc and calcium to increase stamina and boost immunity, such as almonds, apricots, broccoli, seafood, wheat germ and the like.
Other Methods of Treating Chickenpox
Except the above methods, the following methods also can provide some relief: dab calamine lotion onto the blisters; eat a bland, soft diet if there are chickenpox sores in the mouth; try acetaminophen or ibuprofen for a mild fever.
Warning: Do not use aspirin with chickenpox since it can lead to a serious condition known as Reye’s syndrome; besides, do not treat a high fever without first speaking with your doctor.
When to See a Doctor
You should visit you doctor, if home remedies for chickenpox have failed or if you experience serious complications like dehydration, bacterial skin infections, encephalitis or brain swelling and pneumonia or lung infection. There are other conditions that you should consult your doctor:
You have a fever which endures longer than 4 days or goes about 102°Fahrenheit
You have trouble breathing or a severe cough
You have patches of rash that is leaking pus or becomes warm, red, sore or swollen
You have a severe headache
You are unusually drowsy, confused or you have difficult waking up
You have trouble looking at bright lights
You are vomiting frequently
You have a stiff neck or difficulty walking
Note: If you or your child has to see a doctor for anything to do with chickenpox, remember to let the office know in advance to prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease.
- For women who are pregnant, chickenpox is especially dangerous. Getting this disease within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy can lead to a bigger risk of birth defects and other health complications for the mother.
- The vaccine for chickenpox is quite safe and it's the best way to prevent getting the disease. 2 doses of the chickenpox vaccine should be given to children, adolescents and adults.
- People who get the vaccine normally won't get chickenpox. But if they do, it usually is a mild case with a few blisters and either no fever or a mild fever.