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Chickenpox

The disease known as chicken pox is a viral disease caused by infection with the varicella-zoster virus, which is a member of the herpes family of viruses. This extremely contagious disease can affect a person during any stage of life or age, however; it usually affects children and is one of the most common conditions during childhood. A lot of children suffer from chickenpox infection during their childhood; the infection results in the formation of painful and itchy blisters on the skin. The disease is highly communicable and can spread very rapidly; the virus is transmitted through the air. The illness can be communicated through the air by droplets, the virus is released through actions like coughing and sneezing, through direct contact with secretions of the pox; and even activities such as laughing with and talking to an infected individual is sufficient to transmit the viral particles.

The symptoms of the infection are not immediately apparent and do not appear as soon as the child is infected, for about two days following infection however; the child is capable of passing on the virus to other children even without the appearance of symptoms. The virus can be transmitted to others by the infected child right from the time of infection even when the symptoms have not appeared-usually two or three days-to the moment blisters form and up to the time the blister have dried and turned into scabs. The child can thus potentially affect a lot of children unless he or she is isolated.

The severity of the infection and the blisters formed will depend on the nature of the exposure of the child to the virus; frequency and length of exposure to the virus is thus a good indication of likely severity of infection. Thus if more than one child is present in a household, understanding this implication assumes great importance. Therefore as a result, even two children afflicted with chickenpox at the same time must be isolated from one another especially if they are in different stages of infection. The result will be that the second infected child will have a milder experience with the infection as the exposure to the virus is reduced; he or she will experience milder symptoms.

Similar to other viral diseases, symptoms such as headache, physical fatigue accompanied by a loss of appetite and fever signal the onset of infection during an attack of the chicken pox. These primary symptoms are followed one or two days later by the typical symptoms of chicken pox starting with the development of a rash of flat, red colored and splotchy dots, all over the body, these dots usually form first on the chest and then move to the stomach, and the back, a day or so later these dots spread out to the face and the scalp of the child.

These dots combine to form a reddened rash that clusters into clusters of tiny pimple like protrusions on the skin, these pimples like spots then proceed and ripen into small, very delicate and clear blisters on the skin. The number of these blisters or lesions on the skin is variable in infected children; some children may have a total of up to three hundred lesions while others may have only three of them over the whole body. As soon as the rash on the skin erupts and fluids flow away, a new spurt or growth of blisters can be expected in the following two to five days. Following the formation of the blisters on the skin, the formation of scabs occurs five to six days later; this phase is the last stage during an infection of chicken pox. The scabs persist for about two weeks before falling away to revel fresh and tender skin; the attack of chicken pox can be considered to have ended when this period is reached.

The surface of the skin where the rashes form undergoes a lot of changes during the course of the condition, thus over time the affected region of the skin has some areas that are splotchy and red in coloration, blisters invade some new areas, some areas of the skin are healing and recovering, while others are crusting over with the formation of scabs. There is uniformity to all these changes, every blister from the moment it erupts itches terribly lasting until the time of full recovery from the condition; this itchiness is one of the trademark symptoms of chicken pox. The child is thus subjected to extreme and uncomfortable itchy sensations occurring simultaneously all over the body; scratching is not a good idea as this is how the virus is spread via the fingernails, scratching also increases the itchiness.

Though mostly restricted to children, chicken pox can and does infect some adults and as mentioned before, it can affect a person in any age group. Though chicken pox affects adults rarely, such cases are extremely severe in how the symptoms of the disease are manifested and in the degree of discomfort it causes, as a person once infected with chicken pox is usually not infected again for life; it is perhaps best to be affected in childhood itself. Though getting chicken pox is possible after one infection, it is an extremely unlikely scenario and hence the majority are affected only once and thus stay immunized against all further attacks.

Supplements and herbs

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

All of the supplements and herbs given here can help in treating the infection during an attack of the chicken pox. Thus the skin lesions can be treated through the use of the root of the burdock herb, the roots of this herb are rich in many essential trace minerals which are required by the body; the root also helps in the detoxification of the body. Children can be given a single dose of the roots two times a day from the period of infection till the date of recovery. The mucous membranes and the affected skin are aided through the soothing actions of the Echinacea and goldenseal herbs, in addition these herbs help to clear away the infection and provide important support to child's immune system, enabling the body to ward off the viral attack rapidly. Indeed the antiviral property of the Echinacea herb is well known. Dosage of these two herbs for children with an infection of chicken pox can be a single dose of the Echinacea and goldenseal combination formula, given thrice each day for a treatment period of a total of ten days or until full recovery from the disease.
For your attention: because of the fact that the effectiveness of Echinacea is often lost by prolonged usage, the herb should not be used on a continuous or daily basis for more than ten days in a single treatment period.

Restlessness in children with chicken pox can be countered through giving them a cup of chamomile tea, this herbal tea can be given to the child two times each day or as and when necessary. The herbs such as the red clover and the burdock especially the root abound in important trace minerals required by the body. These help in the detoxification actions of the body and also in the elimination of the lesions on the skin. These herbs can be given to children with chicken pox to help them fight off the viral attack, dosage of these herbs for children can be a single dose of the herbs two times each day and can continue until the child recovers fully from the condition.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for chickenpox:

Homeopathy

These homeopathic remedies are intended for use in the treatment of chicken pox, all of these remedies can be used depending on the symptoms; dosage of these remedies can be a single dose taken every two to three hours. The strength of each remedy can be 6c or 12c and such low potencies are to be preferred for use during treatment. However, the dose of the Variolinum must always be 30c every time and in all treatment regimens. A preventative or prophylactic action against infection can also be affected through the use of 30c of the Variolinum- Varicella- during seasonal epidemics. This remedy can be taken every three days as a preventive medication. The same preventive action can also be performed by the Rhus tox. at potency of 30c, this remedy will need to be taken every day if used in this role. A soothing lotion can be made from the Calendula tincture, if it is well diluted; this tincture is also an effective non-suppressive antiseptic.

  • Apis
    Apis is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of children with chicken pox in the course of which the skin is affected with vesicles that have a stinging, burning and itching sensation. The skin of such children can become glossy in appearance and is tense, pink in color and puffed up. The body and the eyes of the child also look puffy. The child may experience a great deal of thirst and suffer from gushing sweats. Another physical symptom the child may suffer is the presence of a suffocative feeling in the chest. Such children tend to be restless and fussy, are often fidgety, and tend to be jealous of others. Such children are also easily excitable, display awkward behavior and irritability; they can also be classed as being busy bees. The condition of the child can worsen to a great extent from exposure to too much heat when lying down in a room or on a bed, such children are also sensitive to touching; in addition the symptoms often worsen in the afternoon. The condition of such children often improves on the use of cold compresses as topical measures; the child may also enjoy cold air in the outdoors. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the use of Apis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the child suffering from chicken pox.
  • Pulsatilla
    Pulsatilla is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of children afflicted with chicken pox during which the skin develops an itchy rash and many vesicles; the itchiness is not relieved by scratching the skin. Other physical sensations such as a burning, crawling or biting sensation also occur all over the affected skin. Any heat often increases the intensity of the itching and the itch can often return if the child is kept warm in bed. The itch can also be worsened by activities such as walking which causes rubbing of the skin. The child also suffers from the production of a thick yellow discharge from the nose and the eyes, another physical symptom can be the development of an earache. If the child scratches the affected area if can often result in the formation of a crust over the blister. Such children tend to be timid and gentle in nature. Such children are also very cranky and whine a lot, besides being given to crying, the child may in addition demand attention and sympathy. The symptoms typically worsen in the evenings, when the child is in bed, from exposure to excess heat, and on the consumption of fatty foods like pork. The symptoms can disappear and the condition of the child may improve when the child is exposed to fresh air out of doors, the child also feels better when a cold compress is used as a topical treatment. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the use of Pulsatilla as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the chicken pox infection.
  • Rhus tox.
    Rhus tox. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of children afflicted with chicken pox which results in the formation of large vesicles on the skin, these vesicles are surrounded by red, inflamed and swollen tissue and occur all over the body. Physical symptoms experienced are the presence of a burning, itching or prickling feeling in the vesicle. The child also suffers from other conditions like ulcers and the vesicles may produce pus and can infect other children. The vesicles can crust over rapidly when scratched. A psychological symptom that is often prevalent in such children is that of extreme restlessness. Other physical symptoms are aching muscles and stiffness felt all over the body. The child craves food items like milk. The child may also contract a fever and suffers from lethargy. The condition of the child can greatly worsen during the night, on exposure to cold and damp weather, in the periods just after having taken rest, after washing the body and when starting to move after a period of rest, the symptoms can also increase in intensity if the child is given to scratching the vesicles and the sensation in the skin is comparable to ones felt during burns on the skin. The condition of the child can improve on using a hot compress as a topical measure on the skin, the condition of the child also improves if the child is given warmth, and the child can also get better if some rubbing and stretching of the body is carried out gently. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Rhus tox. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the infected child.
  • Sulphur
    Sulphur is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of children afflicted with chicken pox in which the skin is affected by the formation of itching vesicles, which on scratching produce a burning sensation and are given to bleeding, lastly a thick yellow crust is formed over the area. Physical symptoms in such children can be the reddening of the lips and the ears. The child may also suffer from a throbbing and burning sensation in the affected regions of the skin. Symptoms such as hunger, lethargy and crankiness are often displayed by the child. The condition of the child can often worsen under hot weather, and at around 11 a.m., the symptoms also increase in intensity if the child is standing and when he or she is bathing. The condition of the patient can greatly improve through the use of a warm compress and when he or she is exposed to the open air out of doors. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Sulphur as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the infected child.

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Comments

From Karen Anderson - Mar-07-2013
I used a topical mix of coconut oil, hemp oil, lysine & zinc. Apply to active infected area hourly. After the blisters have subsided, continue to apply to the area 2x per day for a few months. This will kill the virus and prevent reoccurrence of zoster or shingles in that area. Massage the oil mix into the skin thoroughly.
From Roger Johnson - 2010
I have used slippery elm for chickenpox. I read about slippery elm in old herb book that it would work on staph & chickenpox. I had 6 boys & used it and it never failed.
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