Does my child have chickenpox?

Everything you need to know about this common ― and very infectious ― childhood disease.

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Upon receiving news that her kids’ childcare centre had reported an outbreak of chickenpox among several cases, Shandy Lim was understandably nervous.

Indeed, the mum of two had never contracted the disease before, and neither had her son, Elliot, 2, or her daughter, Elise, 5. However, Elise had previously taken the chickenpox vaccination, while Elliot had yet to get the jab.

Sure enough, nearly a week after the centre’s outbreak, Elliot came down with a fever and spots stated appearing on his body. While Lim tried to separate her kids as much as possible, it was difficult, because “Elliot clung to me like a koala and Elise is very attached to me as well”.

Two days later, Elise came down with a fever and spots. However, her spots weren’t as red, angry and plentiful as Elliot’s.

 

“I think Elliot’s case was more severe because he didn’t get the vaccination. On hindsight, I should have done it for him, too.”

“It wasn’t so bad at first, but by day four or five, their spots were blistery and itching very badly. Elliot especially was very fussy and didn’t have much of an appetite,” says Lim.

To ease their symptoms, Lim put them in cool and light clothes, gave them cool baths and applied calamine lotion on their spots. The difficult part, she notes, was stopping them for scratching, as she was “afraid it would cause scarring, especially on their faces”.

When the spots crusted finally after about two weeks, her GP gave the kids the go-ahead to return to school.

Says Lim, who was mentally prepared to contract the disease herself during that period but didn’t. “I think Elliot’s case was more severe because he didn’t get the vaccination. In hindsight, I should have done it for him, too.”

Click through to read more about the signs and symptoms of chickenpox.