Chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is a highly contagious acute viral disease that expresses itself through skin eruptions and usually mild constitutional symptoms. Chicken pox is one of the common childhood diseases. Symptoms can range from mild to severe but oft-times can be so mild that parents don’t even realise that their child has contracted chickenpox.
How do you catch it? Usually by contact with the active skin eruptions or by airborne droplets.
Is there an incubation period? Yes. Incubation is for 2- 3 weeks before any symptoms manifest.
For how long is my child infectious? From a few days before the onset of symptoms to when the last eruption has healed over.
When is my child most infectious? A day or two before the skin eruptions show right through to when the last eruption has formed a scab.
How can I tell when my child has chicken-pox? The severity of symptoms vary from person to person but generally speaking the younger you are the less severe it will be. It is quite common for very young babies to have only a few spots. The first common symptoms are; a slight fever, runny nose, headache, backache, loss of appetite, weakness and a general feeling of unwellness. You may think that your child is simply coming down with a cold. After a day or two, red spots will appear initially on the chest and back. Very quickly the spots become fluid filled vesicles.
What happens now? Over the next few weeks more vesicles can appear on the body. The skin surrounding the vesicles becomes reddened and after a few days the fluid in the vesicle will turn yellow and a scab will form. The scabs can take between five to twenty days to fall off.
What’s the worst thing? Usually the itchiness of the eruptions.
Are there any unusual complications? Secondary infections in the lesions or lesions that spread to the inside of the mouth , throat, oesophagus or even in the stomach. Varicella pneumonia is a complication that can be seen in small children, or people who are immune-compromised
What are the treatment options?
Old-fashioned bed-rest and increased fluid intake. Vitamin C supplementation.
Soothing baths; add to the bath either a handful of baking soda or a cup of cider vinegar.
Light applications of soothing salves to the lesions such as the viral salve to soothe the itch and to minimise scarring.
Homeopathic remedies carefully selected on the individual’s symptoms.
Is chicken-pox a natural childhood process for cleansing and subsequent immuno-development?
Many health practitioners don’t subscribe to the medical/pharma fear-market and have another view of common childhood diseases. One that is widely recognised is that these exanthematic ( rash producing) diseases are desirable, perhaps even necessary processes to clear toxins and to develop a healthy immune system in the growing child. Developmental and growth surges are to be expected ?after a naturally occurring and naturally handled childhood disease.
These days, given that our environment is becoming more and more toxic, the air, the water, the soils and our food, one might argue that it has become even more important to allow our children the opportunity these diseases naturally offer. When I was a child it was common for parents to seek exposure for their children to chickenpox hence ensuring lifelong immunity.
Most cases of chicken-pox in healthy children do not need homeopathic treatment. Topical salves and baths are enough. However in some cases when the disease is not progressing naturally more support is required. This can happen when the disease has been contracted after exposure to a recently vaccinated child. Many vaccinated children do develop symptoms of the disease as a vaccine “side-effect” and yes, the lesions are contagious.
When would it be helpful to use a homeopathic remedy?
If the rash fails to appear.
If the itch becomes too severe.
If the lesions become infected ie; become red and swollen or begin to discharge pus.
If a secondary chest infection should develop.
In an immune-compromised person.
Using homeopathic remedies.
My intention in this section is to show you what to look for if your child needs homeopathic support. A quick call or email to myself or your homeopath may be all you need, to help to confirm which remedy if any you should use. With homeopathic remedies it is common to administer the appropriate remedy perhaps only once or twice. If there is no change or improvement after a few doses (maximum of 5 doses), you may need to rethink your choice of remedy. Sometimes after the administration of a good remedy the fever may increase for a time and the full rash will develop. The increased fever is a natural mechanism the body uses to eliminate the virus.
Some of the more commonly indicated remedies; in alphabetical order not order of importance.
ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM; ?The person needing this remedy would in general be very irritable to the degree of not wanting you to look at them, touch them or bathe them. They may have a honey-like discharge from the eruptions. The eruptions may be aggravated from radiant heat and warm bathing. Craving for sour food and or drinks is seen, and they may have a white coated tongue.
ANTIMONIUM TARTARICUM; For when the rash is slow to develop or slow to recede. The eruptions are large and pussy and leave a blueish scar after the scab falls off. Often accompanied by a rattly cough or bronchitis. They will be sweaty and drowsy with the fever. Strong irritability with an aversion to being handled.
BELLADONNA; In the beginning of the disease when there is a high fever. The skin is hot and the rash is bright red. Severe and throbbing headache. Sensitivity to noise and light. Inability to sleep with the headache. The face is flushed, the pupils are dilated. Hot head with cold extremities.
MERCURIUS; Eruptions that suppurate. The eruptions are large and the discharge smells bad. The patient is sweaty and smelly. Their breath is bad and they make have swollen glands with drooling. They are worse at night and sensitive to hot and to cold. They are like a human thermometer, seemingly unable to regulate their body temperature. Taking off and putting on their clothes or blankets.
PULSATILLA; This remedy is indicated in the early stages of fever when the patient is weepy and clingy. They want you to hold them and/or be close by. The fever may not be strong enough to bring out the eruptions. They fever may come and go and/or be fairly mild and they won’t be thirsty. These patients like to have a window open, need fresh air and feel worse in a hot, stuffy room. They often go downhill in the evening and are worse through the night.
RHUS TOXICODENDRON; When the itching is intense. The rash feels better from very hot bathing or heated compresses.
SULPHUR; The eruptions are smelly and worse after bathing. They are worse from the heat of the bed and very itchy. They scratch until the skin bleeds. Can have very red ears and lips with the fever.
Pointers to the common remedies. Dr M.L.Tyler. Jain Publishers.
Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth, and your baby’s first year. Mirandra Castro. St Martin’s Press.
Vaccine Free. Kate Birch. Narayana Publishers.
Concordant Materia Medica. Frans Vermeulen. Merlijin Publishers.