Chickenpox is an acute infectious disease, capable of spreading rapidly, occurring in both adults and children. It is most common in newborns. It usually lasts a short time in healthy children. However, it can be severe in adults and may cause serious or even fatal complications in people of any age. So to help you deal with this condition, here are things you should know about chickenpox in newborns.
The causes of Chickenpox
The Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is the main virus that causes chickenpox in infants. As your baby’s immune system is still developing, their resistance is not strong enough. Therefore, it is easier for this virus to invade your baby’s health.
Chickenpox can also be passed from mother to child both during and after pregnancy. If you had chickenpox in your pregnancy and not treated it yet, the virus may spread to your baby. In particular, if you had this condition in the first 3 months of pregnancy, it may have some bad effects on your baby’s health and development. This condition may lead to different complications and possible miscarriage.
Chickenpox is mainly spread through inhalation and skin contact. However, your baby will mostly have contact with you after birth. Therefore, if you have chickenpox, your baby will be easily infected. If you notice the signs of chickenpox, you should keep a distance with your baby. The first thing to do is to stop breastfeeding. Notify your doctor about the condition for the best advice.
Symptoms of Chickenpox
Red, itchy rashes are the first basic symptom of chickenpox. In most cases, the rash appears on your baby’s face and later spreads to their whole body. Afterward, these rashes will turn into blisters. An infant may have 250 – 500 blisters when having this condition. In the first few days of virus infection, your baby may suffer a high fever (about 39-39.5 Celsius degrees). Chickenpox also has similar symptoms to the flu. For example, your baby may cough slightly, wheeze, have a runny nose, or lose their appetites. About 3 days after your baby shows these symptoms, their body will start showing rashes. Detecting these symptoms as soon as possible is crucial as they may lead to different complications including internal hemorrhage and encephalitis.
How to Help your baby
When you find your baby having chickenpox, you should keep an eye on them carefully. If your baby has blisters, you should take them to your doctor immediately for proper diagnoses. After that, you should prepare all kinds of personal hygiene tools that are safe for the baby. Be aware of the throat and genital spots. These are common places that chickenpox may appear but not everyone knows this. So you should let your baby have soft foods to eat as well as keep their genital area clean and dry. Many kinds of skin ointments may soothe your child itchy skin. Calamine lotion and other over-the-counter lotions are some examples. However, you should consult your doctor any time you try medicine and keep an eye on any allergic reaction on your baby.
How to Prevent Chickenpox in Newborns
Proper vaccination is the best way to prevent chickenpox in your baby. The varicella vaccine is given as a shot when kids are between 12 and 15 months old. They get a booster shot for further protection at 4 to 6 years of age. This vaccine will prevent the several illnesses that your baby may have if they get chickenpox. In most cases, vaccinated kids who do get chickenpox generally have a mild case. On top of that, you should get vaccinated yourself. Around 3-6 months of pregnancy, you should plan to get chickenpox vaccination as well. This not only helps you avoid this condition but also prevents the virus from spreading to your baby. After the baby is born, the antibody from this vaccine will be passed to your baby through breast milk. Therefore, your baby will minimize the risk of this skin condition
There you go, now you have the things you should know about chickenpox in newborns. Do you have any tips to help other mothers to soothe their baby’s discomfort? Let us know in the comments!