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Chickenpox: The Parenting Juggle Is Real

It’s chicken pox season again (February – May) and parents up and down the country are facing the fresh challenge of sorting out last minute childcare when their little darlings are in “quarantine”! While it’s always difficult to see your children unwell, the parenting juggle is real when it comes to chickenpox…In a survey of 1,000 parents commissioned by PoxClin CoolMousse, it was found that today’s parents struggle to cope when their children are off school or nursery, with 43% of parents surveyed saying they were forced to rely on their friends and family for childcare .

Whilst you want to cuddle up on the sofa with your poorly children, sometimes it’s just not possible to stay at home with them. Over a quarter (26%) of parents surveyed were forced to take the time off to look after their infectious offspring by using annual leave and another 26% had to take the time as unpaid parental leave. And, for some parents, it’s all too much – with over a quarter (27%) admitting that they have sent their child to school knowing they might be contagious with an infection or virus!

Chickenpox is an inevitable but unpredictable illness, but most children in the UK will “get it” by the age of 10. And whilst it’s a common, and easily treatable condition, it is highly infectious with the NHS recommending that children stay off nursery or school for around five days as they only stop being contagious once all their spots have crusted over.

And sorting childcare is just one parenting worry when your little one catches chickenpox. PoxClin’s survey revealed that the immediate discomfort for your child was the main concern of 46% of parents, followed closely by anxieties (34%) about the long-term effect of chickenpox on your child’s skin, such as scarring. In terms of practicalities, 46% of parents say that stopping them from scratching (52%) is the most important consideration when their child has chickenpox, followed by staying hydrated and getting rest (45%). Additional concerns include risk of infection, trying to keep your child hydrated and potential health complications of chickenpox. Not to mention there’s only so many days of quarantined Peppa Pig you can take before you begin to speak in a strangely similar way!

Dr Stephanie Ooi @the_gp_mum, a GP from MyHealthcare Clinic says of these concerns; “Chickenpox is a very common illness and most children make a full recovery without needing medical intervention. However, it can still be uncomfortable and upsetting for little ones and worrying for parents.
“Not only this, but it can also create difficulties relating to cancelling plans, having to set up a ‘quarantine’ for your child and organising childcare, all of which can be very stressful.
“The good news is that chickenpox should only last around 10 days and there are lots of at home remedies you can use to help reduce irritation and soothe your child.”

To help parents with the juggle during the peak season at the end of Winter / beginning of Spring, here’s some top tips:

  • Use an easy to use at-home treatment such as PoxClin CoolMousse to relieve the irritation, discomfort and reduce the chances of re-infection and scarring
  • Keep your child hydrated by giving them soup in colder weather or ice lollies when it gets a bit warmer
  • As the weather gets warmer, avoid too much sun, as sweat will increase the itch
  • Trim your child’s fingernails to avoid scratching blisters and crusts open
  • Cover hands and feet in socks/gloves over night to avoid scratching blisters and crusts open
  • Bath in lukewarm bath. Adding some oatmeal (in a sock or washcloth) to the bath may help relieve itching
  • Dress your child in light airy clothing
  • Pay extra attention to hygiene
  • TLC – Tender Loving Care!

However, when those spots finally scab over the end is nigh! Even though your child may look oddly more contagious than ever, the dreaded chickenpox quarantine is over, and you can once more continue your day-to-day life– until their sibling catches it too…

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