The varicella zoster virus is responsible for causing chickenpox which is described as a contagious infection. The condition is quite common among children than adults and causes symptoms of discomfort and even pain in some cases. The symptoms are difficult for toddlers to cope with since they might not be able to describe what they feel. Once the disease runs it full course, parents must be able to observe the characteristic indications of the infection. If you want to learn the suitable measures to ease the symptoms of chickenpox, click here.
Signs of chickenpox in toddlers
Fever and headache
A toddler can suffer from fever, headaches and generalized feeling of sickness 11-15 days after exposure to the chickenpox virus and these early symptoms occur 24-36 hours before the lesions occur. Parents must be alert to a toddler who is trying to communicate if he/she has a stomachache or headache. In some cases, the toddler can also suffer from sore throat or abdominal pain and might seem to have a cold along with visible signs such as sneezing, coughing or runny nose. The loss of appetite can occur at this stage or later.
The initial indication is the red-colored, itchy rash that is oftentimes accompanied by temporary flushed skin. It is also important to note that the rash typically starts on the face and trunk before spreading to the entire body. The rash can even extend to the eyes and ears.
The natural reaction of a toddler is to scratch the affected area. Use a cool damp compress or take lukewarm baths to relieve the itchiness that accompanies the rash along with the other symptoms of chickenpox. The doctor can confirm if the toddler has chickenpox and might prescribe medications to reduce the severity of the disease.
The rash triggered by chickenpox typically develops abruptly into elevated bumps or papules. It is noted that this usually occurs within hours after the initial appearance of the rash. Parents must discourage the toddler from scratching since this will open the papules and make the child prone to other infections. Mittens should be worn on the hands when he/she goes to sleep.
The chickenpox papules will develop into the characteristic blisters or vesicles. It is important to note that these blisters manifest in successive waves with a fresh series of blisters appearing as the others crust over and start to form scabs.
In case the toddler has blisters in the mouth, you can provide the toddler acetaminophen for the pain. Do not provide aspirin though. In case the blisters spread to the genital area, a doctor should be consulted for a pain-relieving ointment. The new papules usually stop developing after 5-6 days. By the 14th day, most of the blisters will formed scabs and the contagious phase of the chickenpox has ended.