Chicken pox, also called varicella (after the varicella-zoster virus), is a mild and common childhood illness that most children catch at some point – it is highly contagious.
It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.
Some children have only a few spots, but in others they can cover the entire body. The spots are most likely to appear on the face, ears and scalp, under the arms, on the chest and belly and on the arms and legs.
It is spread quickly and easily through the coughs and sneezes of someone who is infected and is most common in children under 10. In fact, chickenpox is so common in childhood that 90% of adults are immune to the condition because they’ve had it before.
Children usually catch chickenpox in winter and spring, particularly between March and May. Chickenpox is at its most infectious the day before the rash breaks out, before you may even be aware that your child has it.
The most commonly recognized chickenpox symptom is a red rash that can cover the entire body.
However, even before the rash appears, you or your child may have some mild flu-like symptoms including:
- feeling sick
- a high temperature (fever) of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or over
- aching, painful muscles
- generally feeling unwell
- loss of appetite
These flu-like symptoms, especially the fever, tend to be worse in adults than in children.
Soon after the flu-like symptoms, an itchy rash appears. Some children and adults may only have a few spots, but others are covered from head to toe.
The spots normally appear in clusters and tend to be:
- behind the ears
- on the face
- over the scalp
- under the arms
- on the chest and belly
- on the arms and legs
But the spots can be anywhere on the body, even inside the ears and mouth, on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and inside the nappy area.
Although the rash starts as small, itchy red spots, after about 12-14 hours the spots develop a blister on top and become intensely itchy.
After a day or two, the fluid in the blisters gets cloudy and they begin to dry out and crust over.
After one to two weeks, the crusting skin will fall off naturally.
New spots can keep appearing in waves for three to five days after the rash begins. Therefore different clusters of spots may be at different stages of blistering or drying out.
Most healthy children (and adults) recover from chickenpox with no lasting ill-effects simply by resting, just as with a cold or flu.
But some children and adults are unlucky and have a more severe bout than usual.
Contact your licensed health practitioner straight away if you or your child develop any abnormal symptoms, for example:
- if the skin surrounding the blisters becomes red and painful
- if you or your child start to get pain in the chest or have difficulty breathing
To prevent spreading the infection, keep children off nursery or school until all the spots have crusted over.
Chickenpox is most infectious from one to two days before the rash starts, until all the blisters have crusted over (usually five to six days after the start of the rash).
If your child has chickenpox, try to keep them away from public areas to avoid contact with people who have not had it, especially people who are at risk of serious problems, such as new-born babies, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system.
Complications of Chicken Pox
Complications of chickenpox are rare in healthy children. The most common complication is where the blisters become infected with bacteria.
A sign that the blisters have become infected is when the surrounding skin becomes red and sore.
If you think that your child’s blisters have become infected, contact your licensed practitioner.
The people who are most at risk of developing chickenpox complications are:
- pregnant women
- babies under four weeks old
- people with a weakened immune system
Chickenpox can be more serious in adults than in children. Approximately 5-14% of adults with chickenpox develop lung problems, such as pneumonia. If you smoke, your risk of developing lung problems is much greater.
Although it is more serious in adults, most people will still make a full recovery from the chickenpox virus.
If you’re pregnant, chickenpox can occasionally cause complications.
For example, your risk of developing pneumonia is slightly higher if you’re pregnant, especially if you smoke. The further you are into your pregnancy, the more serious the risk of pneumonia tends to be.
If you get chickenpox while you’re pregnant, there is also a small but significant risk to your unborn baby.
If you are infected with chickenpox during the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy, there is a risk that your unborn baby could develop a condition known as foetal varicella syndrome.
This syndrome is rare. The risk of it occurring in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is less than 1%. Between 13 and 20 weeks, the risk is 2%.
Foetal varicella syndrome can cause serious complications, including:
- eye defects, such as cataracts
- shortened limbs
- brain damage
There have been reports of damage to the unborn baby from foetal varicella syndrome when a pregnant woman catches chickenpox after week 20. But the risk at this late stage in pregnancy is thought to be much less than 1%.
However, there are other risks from catching chickenpox after week 20 of pregnancy.
It is possible that your baby may be born prematurely (before week 37 of the pregnancy).
And if you are infected with chickenpox seven days before or seven days after giving birth, your new-born baby may develop a more serious type of chickenpox. In a few severe cases, this type of chickenpox can be fatal.
See your licensed health practitioner urgently if you’re pregnant or have given birth in the last seven days and you think you may have chickenpox, or if you’ve been exposed to someone who has chickenpox.
People with a Weakened Immune System
Your immune system is your body’s way of defending itself against disease, bacteria and viruses.
If your immune system is weak or does not work properly, you are more susceptible to developing infections such as chickenpox. This is because your body produces fewer antibodies to fight off the infection.
If you have a weakened immune system, you’re also more at risk of developing complications from chickenpox. These complications include:
- septicaemia (blood poisoning)
See your licensed health practitioner urgently if you have a weakened immune system and you’ve been exposed to the chickenpox virus.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. You catch it by coming into contact with someone who is infected with the virus.
It’s a very contagious infection. About 90% of people who have not previously had chickenpox will become infected when they come into contact with the virus.
The chickenpox virus is spread in the same ways as colds as flu. It’s contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when an infected person sneezes or coughs. You can then become infected with the virus by breathing in these droplets from the air.
You can also become infected by handling a surface or object that these droplets have landed on, then transferring the virus to yourself by touching your face.
It takes seven to 21 days for the symptoms of chickenpox to show after you have come into contact with the virus. This is called the ‘incubation period’.
Someone with chickenpox is most infectious from one to two days before the rash appears until all the blisters have crusted over. This usually takes five to six days from the start of the rash.
If you have not had chickenpox before, you can also catch chickenpox from someone with shingles (an infection caused by the same virus). However, it’s not possible to catch shingles from someone who has chickenpox.
Read Find A Cure – Shingles.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here.
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
Hydrotherapy is the application of water, ice, steam and hot and cold temperatures to maintain and restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, sitz baths, colonic irrigation and the application of hot and/or cold compresses. Hydrotherapy is effective for treating a wide range of conditions and can easily be used in the home as part of a self-care program. Many Naturopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Day Spas use Hydrotherapy as part of treatment. We suggest several at-home hydrotherapy treatments. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these procedures to make sure they are appropriate – especially in the case of children.
Eat an organic, whole foods diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables and minimizes carbohydrates (avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars altogether).
At the first sign of outbreak, apply zinc oxide along the path of the affected nerve area two to three times daily. Other helpful nutrients include L-lysine, vitamin B-complex, vitamin B12, BHT, calcium, and high doses of vitamin C plus bioflavonoids. Topical application of vitamin E can also be helpful. Snake vaccine made from venom has also been known to take away the pain of varicella-zoster. Conult a licensed health care practitioner in the case of children.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis – Find out more by clicking here.
– Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Use the incredibly simple but extremely effective Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help with pain relief Emotional trauma — The second factor, which is also almost universally present in most all autoimmune diseases, is some kind of predisposing traumatic emotional insult that typically occurs before the age of five or six. And unless that specific insult is addressed in some type of effective treatment modality, then the underlying emotional trigger will not be removed, allowing the destructive process to proceed. Therefore, it’s very important to have an effective tool to address these underlying emotional traumas. www.rogercallahan.com
- Reiki – this can help with healing to joints – find a local reiki practitioner here.
We recommend you consult a licensed practitioner if you are concerned because it is important to watch for fever. Temperatures can be kept down with cool, sponge baths, says Dr Virender Sodhi MD (Ayurveda), director of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic in Bellevue, Washington. He also recommends soaking in an alkaline bath containing baking soda to relieve itching. Aloe Vera gel applied to the rash will also help. The following ayurvedic home remedies can also be beneficial:
- Application of honey is one of the effective home remedies for chicken pox. Smear the skin with honey; this is beneficial as it helps to treat the condition in just two days.
- Using green pea water is another good remedy. When you cook peas in water, don’t discard the water, use this water instead to treat your child.
- Taking a bath with some oatmeal helps to reduce the itching. Add two cups of oat meal to two liters of water and cook the mixture for around twenty minutes. Put this mixture in a cotton bag and allow it to float and be swooshed in the tub until it turns the bathwater turbid. Allow your children to splash this water on the blisters.
- Brown vinegar is a powerful home remedy. Adding vinegar to the bath water helps to reduce the irritation and also treats the lesions.
- Bathing with neem leaves not only helps to treat chicken pox but also fights all the other skin disorders.
- Sponge the entire body of your child with a mixture of baking soda and water. Baking soda reduces the itching caused due to the chicken pox and also heals the lesions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
TCM works by forcing the toxins out of the body and we recommend you consult a licensed health practitioner who will be able to advise on treatment dependent on the severity of symptoms. The basic therapeutic principle of chickenpox is clearing away heat and relieving the exterior syndromes with pungent-flavoured and cool-natured drugs. In the case of mild syndrome with pathogenic factors stagnating defensive qi, the therapeutic methods include dispelling wind and clearing away heat in combination with auxiliary methods of removing toxins and excreting dampness; in the case of severe syndrome with intense heat in both qi system and nutrient system, the therapeutic method is clearing away heat to cool nutrient system in combination with the auxiliary method of removing toxins; in the case of large-sized chickenpoxes with full liquid inside due to excessive dampness, the therapeutic methods include clearing away heat, removing toxins and excreting dampness by inducing diuresis; in the case of excessive pathogenic factors settling in the heart and liver, the therapeutic methods include clearing away heat to cool the blood, removing toxins and inducing resuscitation. Saffron, honeysuckle and chrysanthemum are often used, along with peppermint and bupleurum.
The following natural healing remedy using the antiviral properties of aromatherapy essential oils such as eucalyptus and bergamot can help to get over chicken pox quickly:
Add 2 drops each of tea tree, eucalyptus and bergamot to a luke-warm bath when you bathe your child.
Blend 2 (to stop itching)
Make a lotion of 2 ounces of witch hazel and 2 ounces of water. Add 5 drops each of lavender, chamomile and tea tree essential oils. Shake well and dab on as needed.
You can also massage the essential oils of lemon, geranium, bergamot, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, or chamomile along the affected area.
We recommend you consult a licensed health practitioner. David Hoffman, B.Sc (MNIMH) of California says swabbing blisters with witch hazel is particularly beneficial. He also recommends combining equal parts of dried rosemary leaves and calendula flowers and infusing the mixture (boiling in water.) Once the infusion is cooled it can be applied with a wet cloth by gently dabbing the child’s skin where needed. The following can also be beneficial but discuss with your practitioner first:
BELLADONNA, high fever with red cheeks, dry heat and covering up.
Fever subsides in a few days. This is the catching time, incubation is 3 weeks.
ARSENICUM ALB, more restless and complains of burning, 3am symptoms, fears, may have hallucinations
BRYONIA, more irritable, headache, leave me alone.
RHUS TOX for the itch.
URTICA URENS, if Rhus does not work (the itching lasts at least two weeks or more)
ANTIMONIUM TART, if there is a cough, wheezing, etc.
DULCAMARA, good for skin healing as well as for cold symptoms.
German Chamomile and garlic can be beneficial as well as Scutellaria Laterifolia (Scullcap) and Echinacea purpurea as a nerve relaxing tonic and immune system booster.
Other well-known herbs such as Calendula Officinalis (Marigold), Hamamelis Virginianum (Witch hazel), Stellaria Media (Chickweed) and Verbena Officinalis (Vervain) contain soothing and restorative properties to help relieve angry skin. We recommend you consult a licensed health practitioner.
The following remedy is also beneficial: Combine equal parts of oat straw, St. John`s wort, and skullcap tinctures and take one teaspoon of this mixture four times a day. Peppermint oil applied topically can also help reduce pain, unless the skin is excessively dry, in which case it is contraindicated.
Lemon balm, also known as melissa, contains compounds known as polyphenols that have anti-herpes properties, and is felt by some to be a first- choice herbal treatment. Use topical applications of lemon-balm tea, which you can make by steeping 2 to 4 teaspoons of herb per cup of boiling water. Apply the tea to the blisters with a cotton ball four times a day In Europe, an ointment containing 700 milligrams of dried lemon-balm leaf per gram is widely used. Lemon balm is only one of the herbs in the mint family that are effective anti-herpes agents and contain at least four antiviral compounds that target herpes. Other members of this botanical family include hyssop, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Flower Essences: Crab Apple.
Juice Therapy: Drink carrot and celery juice with one tablespoon of parsley juice once or twice each day.
Topical Treatment: Apply apple cider vinegar to the affected area.
Ayurvedic home remedies: www.ayurvediccure.com/home-remedies/chicken-pox.htm
Chicken pox and homeopathy: abchomeopathy.com/forum2.php/22900
Treating chicken pox with home herbal remedies: homeshalom.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/herbal-treatment-for-chicken-pox.html
Chicken pox vaccine not necessary: vaccinedangers.com
Old-fashioned chicken pox parties fashionable again: www.naturalnews.com/004593.html
Chicken Pox Vaccine dangers: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrJNpt5yEAg
Chicken Pox Vaccine Does not Prevent outbreaks: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14993534
Vaccines based on medical fraud: www.naturalnews.com/035715_vaccines_history_fraud.html
Chicken pox vaccine and related nerve damage: www.naturalnews.com/031549_varicella_vaccine.html
Further Information (links and books)
Fast Chicken Pox Cure by Stefan Hall;
Andrea Butje | Aromahead email@example.com – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt firstname.lastname@example.org – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA email@example.com – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad firstname.lastname@example.org – herbalist.
Kath May email@example.com – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges firstname.lastname@example.org – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika email@example.com – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.