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If chickenpox is anywhere near you, it probably won't be too long before your child catches it. Here are some of the most common points to help you cope with your itchy, poorly child!

Bullet Chickenpox is usually caught between the ages of two and eight.

Bullet Children, with the exception of newborns usually have a much milder response to chickenpox. It can be painful if caught during puberty or adulthood.

Bullet The first symptoms of chickenpox are similar to a cold – a slight fever, raised temperature and runny nose.
- Next small red spots which are very itchy appear.
- The spots turn into blisters – the fluid inside is the chickenpox virus and this is when your child is most contagious.
- The blisters eventually dry out and form scabs.

Bullet Your child is infectious from two days before the rash appears and five days afterwards, or until the last scab crusts over.

Bullet Usually the spots last between two and four weeks before they disappear entirely. Do what you can to prevent your child from scratching at the spots which will cause scarring.

Bullet If you're pregnant and have already had chickenpox, then you don't need to worry. If you haven't had chickenpox and think you might have been exposed to it in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy there is a one in 50 chance that your unborn baby might be affected. If you're pregnant and the chickenpox rash appears, see your doctor as a matter of urgency as antiviral treatments can only be started within 24 hours of the rash appearance.

Bullet If you're worried about a rash, take your child to see the doctor. In particular if you have a very young baby with chickenpox you should see your doctor so they can be treated with antibodies. Newborn babies (within a few days of birth) with chickenpox have a 20% risk of dying from the disease.

Bullet To treat the flu-like symptoms you can give children's paracetemol to bring down your child's temperature and relieve any pain. For the itching, bathe the affected areas. Warm baths are a good idea and it's a good idea to put a handful of bicarbonate of soda in the bath. Piriton syrup can relieve the itching and – as it makes children drowsy – can be a good idea to give a child before they go to bed to help them sleep.

Bullet Don't give aspirin to a child under 16 with chickenpox.

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Remember : This is just information and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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