Chicken pox FAQ

Should I give my child the chicken pox vaccine?

This is entirely up to you and your child's doctor. As I said, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccinating all children against this disease. There are a lot of pros and cons to this issue, so open discussion with you and your child's doctor is important.

How do I keep my child's pox lesions from scarring?

The most important thing is to try to control the itching as much as possible. Scarring primarily occurs due to damage to the skin from scratching or from infection of the lesions. Be sure to trim the nails of your child and follow the anti-itch regimens outlined above. If any of the lesions begin to get very red or develop pus in them, be sure to call your doctor as this may be the first sign of infection. And finally, once the pox lesions have healed, be sure to use lots of sunscreen. These spots will tend to lack pigment for quite a few months. During this time, sun damage could promote scarring of these dots.

What is Herpes Zoster and is it related to chicken pox?

Herpes zoster is a painful rash that is caused by the same virus as chicken pox. However, it usually occurs after the person has had chicken pox. The reason for this is that after we get chicken pox, the virus may not be entirely eliminated from the body. The virus may, instead, reside dormant in certain nerves of the body. Then for reasons not entirely understood, the virus becomes active again, but this time only causes problems in certain parts of the body rather than all over the body like in chicken pox. The symptoms of herpes zoster depend upon which area of the body is affected. It usually manifests itself as a painful rash occurring along the chest, abdomen, or back. However, it may occur anywhere on the body. The rash is red and has little fluid filled vesicles which eventually pop and crust over much like the vesicles in chicken pox do.

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