Our chickenpox nightmare

It’s been about a month since Isla had the chickenpox and I’ve only just found the energy to write this post. It was a n i g h t m a r e!

No parent likes to see their child suffer, but some minor illnesses are easier to tolerate than others, this however, was no laughing game.

I first noticed that Isla had two spots at bath time on Sunday evening and I quickly brushed them off as heat rash. She has quite sensitive skin which is easily irritated and just like her mother, she is prone to little rashes, especially heat rash – She is without a doubt a chip off the old block. However, by Monday morning she had considerably more, mainly on her head and neck and at that point I just knew it was chickenpox. Still to this day, I’m not sure how she caught the virus but it was obvious to me that that’s exactly what it was. They didn’t seem to be bothering her and she was in good spirits, feeding normally etc so I was lured into thinking we were getting off lightly.

The following morning proved me wrong! She was covered, you name any area of the body and I guarantee she had spots on it. Her head and neck were affected the worst but she had them setting up home in all corners – inbetween her toes, on the entrance of her nose, on her lips, in her ears, on the soles of her feet.. you get the idea!

During Tuesday day time she didn’t seem to be irritated by the spots at all. She was her usual smiley self and although they looked very offensive and was blistering up a storm, she wasn’t acting as if they were causing her any discomfort.

Unfortunately for her, this soon changed and by Tuesday evening we experienced a real turn in events. It was like someone turned the on switch and out of nowhere she became very irritated and was wiggling (to itch herself I assume!) and grimasing almost constantly. Chickenpox are very itchy so this didn’t come as much of a surprise! Having had PUPP rash (aka the worst, most itchy, most irritating, most mindblowing god damn awful bastard of rash) late last year, I know how awful and extremely irritating this can be. My heart really went out to her and no matter how I tried to comfort her, she was impossible to settle. All hail Charlie and the numbers for providing the most effective source of distraction! Scout the bear can have a drink on me too.

Nothing could of prepared me for the night ahead and still now I get upset thinking about the state she was in. Later on that evening, I discovered that she had pox in her mouth, with one right on the end of her tongue. She seemed in so much discomfort and when James called 111 to ask if it was normal they said yes and that the likelihood is that she also had them down her throat and on the lining of her stomach. My poor, poor baby. I have said previously that this was the hardest and toughest challenge I have had yet as a mum and I still stand by my word. Seeing her in that much pain and discomfort but not being able to soothe her was plain awful. I could tell she was desperate to be held and cuddled to sleep but every time we tried she would scream louder as her skin was so sensitive. In the end I managed to settle her to sleep in the pram at 1:30am after 5 hours of trying all sorts of other techniques to calm her down and get her to sleep! When she finally fell to sleep I chucked myself on the sofa and sobbed like a bigger baby than she’ll ever be. Slightly dramatic but that’s how I felt until I realised I was wasting precious sleeping time! She was awake every hour after that and eventually fell asleep in the crook of my arm at 4am until the morning.

To make matters worse (because we so needed that!) we, like the rest of the country, we’re being bashed by the beast from the east at the time but I bet your boiler didn’t break down, did it? well guess what.. MINE DID! Up until this point, I had been dressing Isla in really loose clothing, not many layers etc to lessen the contact with her skin but now that our house was a chilly willy 8 degrees I had no choice but to wrap her up and risk irratating her skin further. It really did feel like world was against us!

Anyway if you have read this far (god bless ya), you are probably hanging on for the helpful stuff. Here is what we used to relieve the symptoms-

Calpol – we gave Isla calpol at regular intervals day/night. Thankfully the pox coincided with her being able to take 5ml instead of the previous 2.5ml. Hallelujah!

IMPORTANT – Under no circumstances should you give ibrophen to anyone with chickenpox. Research shows that using ibuprofen may lead to an increased risk of serious skin infection – a condition called necrotising fasciitis.

Piriton – Piriton Syrup may be used by children over the age of 12 months to relieve the itchy rash of chickenpox. Isla is only 9 months old but because her rash was quite severe, she was prescribed it by the doctor anyway. This really helped to cancel out the itch and meant we could all get a good nights sleep.

Aqueous Calamine Cream – This was brillaint for Isla’s skin and is used by many for the sympathetic relief of minor skin conditions. It is ideal for treating itchy skin conditions including chicken pox and I was applying it 3/4 times a daily. I definately noticed that she was less irritated once this was applied! And it lessens the risk of scarring. Double whammy!

Virasoothe cooling relief gel – I only used this once or twice because it made Isla really cold (which she hates!) but this seemed to be a good product. It cools and relieves the rash whilst promotinng natural healing and reduced scarring.

Bathing in oats – This might seem an odd one but I felt like it really helped! Wheat extract is thought to reduce the itch and dry out the spots quickly and I really think it did. I put a cup of oats into the foot of some old tights and hung the tights over the hot tap into the bath. The bath water was really cloudy and I’m not sure how clean Isla felt afterwards but I would recommend!

Dress in loose clothing and keep cool – This is from my own personal experience, but I know how irritating it can be when you are itchy and stuck in tight clothes. Itching also increases ten fold when you get hot so I think staying cool and dressing in loose cotton is essential!

I also popped Isla’s dummy in the freezer, along with a frube for her to suck on to relieve the pox in her mouth.

As I write this, it’s 4:30am and I’m currently baby trapped in bed by a poorly Isla (again!) – if I move just an inch so I can rest my head to sleep, she will sense the calm and belt her lungs out.

My sister recently asked me if I had my own chair down the doctors yet, I laughed it off but the more I think about it, the more I want to congratulate her on such a good idea!

Am I the only one who finds this endless?!

A massive, massive, thank you to all the kind, well wishing, advice and supportive messages that I received from other mums at the time. You guys helped me to keep it together! Isla’s spots are all gone now, we just have a wretched cold to get rid of instead!
Lots of love
G
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