Last Wednesday I was bathing my 21 month old Wriggler and noticed a couple of spots in his hair, then on his back and one on his chest…the invasion of the spots had begun. My poorly little munchkin had been off colour for a few days, and we had been battling Croup for three nights so were already rather sleep deprived.
But Chickenpox is the first real illness that my little one has had, and being honest I had been expecting it and wishing he could get it over with.
A week later and we are out the other side of the worst of it, and whilst I am glad that he will not get it again, it was the most heart-breaking week we have experienced to date. It was the first time that my cuddles and kisses were not enough to help him feel better.
The fever kept him up most nights and the itching naturally is enough to drive anyone bonkers, but a little one who is usually so chatty, but now would only say ‘ouchy’ and ‘water,’ it is even harder. Wriggler handled things well during the day for the first couple of days, but after five nights of terrible sleep and ending up in Mummy and Daddy’s bed, he became very irritable during the day and desperately tired. This is a little man who, as a rule, adores his sleep.
Wriggler was lucky in that he had relatively few spots: a handful on his face and in his hair and then on his tummy and back. The worst ones he had though were in his mouth and on his bottom, and naturally he went off his food. As long as he was drinking water and milk and had some plain biscuits I decided to not worry too much (just his little toddler fat has been depleted somewhat).
What was harder to accept was that there is only so much you can do to soothe them. I was given a plethora of advice from parents who have experienced Chickenpox and tested all the remedies. This is what I found out…
These didn’t work for the Wriggler:
- Calamine lotion – rubbish, he got upset during application, which I could not do fast enough for him and it barely seemed to distract him from the itching.
- Bicarbonate of soda in the bath – this made him cry, and cry and cry whilst standing in the bath. It was supposed to soothe, but I think it just irritated him.
These did work for the Wriggler:
- Calpol – this worked wonders (as usual) on the temperature. My understanding is that it is not recommended to use and ibuprofen-based medicine during chickenpox in case it creates a rare skin reaction.
- Piriton syrup administered orally, twice a day for little ones, this anti-histamine helps to reduce itching and aid sleeping. I would say that it did help, but as I started using as soon as I saw the spots I have no basis for comparison if I had not used it.
- Vira Soothe – this was a god-send. I used the spray version rather than cream and the effect was immediate. The relief for my Wriggler allowed him to calm down and relax and was great after a bath.
- Tea Tree Oil in the bath – this was soothing and helps prevent infection. Wriggler was bathed morning and night during the worst week, and he would lie right down and ‘swim’, so clearly this helped relieve how irritated his skin felt.
- Dentinox – he loved this when he was teething, and it was a great thing to fall back on to soothe his poorly tongue and mouth during the day.
- Nappies and Sudocrem – Wriggler doesn’t usually need a lot of Sudocrem, but I lathered him up with the stuff and changed his nappy more regularly. If it had been summer I would have let him go nappy-less for a bit.
- Loose clothes – fresh loose fitting PJs or joggers were great after every bath, and again it is had been summer rather than winter I would have let him run about naked to let the air get to him. As it was, he shivered with the fever if he wasn’t dressed.
- Yogurt/ice cream/plain toast – if they can eat then plain and simple is best, and anything that helps with their poorly mouths is a plus.
I didn’t try oatmeal in socks or tights, in the bath and rubbed on his body as he seemed happy with Tea Tree Oil, but I did have this strongly recommended.
Hope that this helps some of you out there when your little one is poorly and once all the drugs, creams and PJs are applied I would highly recommend cuddles on the sofa with a blankie and their favourite TV show (we watched six hours of Bing Bunny).
Now, we would all love to get back to normal and have a whole night’s sleep.