How do you soothe chickenpox in a baby? That’s a tough one, isn’t it? It’s hard to see any of our kids uncomfortable, but when it’s your infant or toddler who doesn’t understand why they feel miserable, it’s even more heartwrenching! One of our readers recently shared that her 8-month-old was diagnosed by their pediatrician with the chickenpox, and she is looking for tips to soothe the itch. Whether or not you are a proponent of vaccinations, most vaccination schedules do not include varicella (chickenpox) vaccine until 12-15 months. While chickenpox is much less prevalent than it once was, it is still out there and possible for your little one to contract before receiving the first vaccination.
Just like our reader, if you suspect that your baby may have chickenpox, they need to be seen by their doctor. Chickenpox cases range in their severity, and it is important for the doctor to make sure your little one does not have additional complications other than the discomfort. Also, there are other illnesses such as hand, foot, and mouth which could be mistaken for chickenpox. The recommendations shared below are a means of reducing the discomfort associated with the itch but is not medical advice.
How Do You Soothe Chickenpox in a Baby?
Soothing chickenpox in a baby involved minimizing potential scarring by trimming nails, keeping your baby hydrated, and using simple methods to relieve the itch. Read on for tips on how to do all of these things.
Keep your baby’s nails trimmed!
Because chickenpox can scar when scratched, keep your baby’s nails trimmed while the pox is visible. Be careful of your own nails during this time, as well. Check out this great video for how to trim your baby’s nails.
Soothe an itch naturally
Giving your baby a tepid or lukewarm bath every 3-4 hours with colloidal oatmeal will help to relieve the itching. It is quite mild, but if you haven’t used it with your baby in the past, make a runny paste with a little bit of the colloidal oatmeal and rub it on a small patch of skin to make sure your baby is not allergic to it. Baking soda or uncooked regular oats is another option if you’d prefer to use items you already have on hand.
After the bath, pat the skin dry; make sure not to rub with the towel, as the rubbing action can also dislodge a pock and cause scarring. You can then use calamine lotion (again, testing it on a small area of your baby’s skin to ensure there is not an allergy) on the pox. Be careful not to get the calamine lotion near the eyes or mouth, and you should avoid the hands if your baby still puts their hands in their mouth. If the itching seems unbearable for your little one, ask the pediatrician if it is safe to use an over-the-counter antihistamine; the doctor will also be able to give you appropriate dosing instructions if they do recommend using it.
Keep your baby hydrated and fed
Eating and drinking may be hard for your baby, particularly if they have any pox in their mouths or throats. Even if your baby doesn’t feel like eating, push fluids as much as you can. Keeping your little one hydrated is important. Try homemade ice pops – puree watermelon or other mild fruits you’ve already introduced in the blender with filtered water. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold or ice cube tray, and add popsicle sticks for a handle. If your baby does have pox in the mouth or throat, avoid berries, kiwi and other acidic foods, as the acid will sting as it does down the throat.
As difficult as it is to watch your baby be uncomfortable, chickenpox usually only lasts 5-10 days. Manage the itch as much as you can and give lots of TLC. One more disclaimer, though – if you have not had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated, it is a good idea to enlist the help of someone who has. Chickenpox can be very dangerous in adulthood, and you need to take care of yourself too!