THE CHICKEN POX CHRONICLES
12 months If your little one breaks out in a rash of red spots, here’s what to do
Chicken pox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), a virus that falls within the herpes range. It is spread through the air, through coughs, sneezes or touch, where a child may come into contact with fluid from the blisters on an infected person.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHICKEN POX?
Chicken pox symptoms can take anything from 10 to 21 days to appear. Because of the long time between infection and symptoms appearing, chicken pox can be mistaken for something else until that telltale rash appears. Initial symptoms of chicken pox include: fever, nausea, headaches, a loss of appetite, aches and pains.
WHAT DOES THE RASH LOOK LIKE?
The chicken pox rash is quite distinctive, as the spots first appear as small and red, and then become blisters. These are incredibly itchy and, if scratched, can scar the skin quite badly, so it’s important to prevent your baby from scratching. The blisters can take up to a week to form, break and eventually crust over. It’s most common for the chicken pox spots to appear on the abdomen, back or face, and then spread all over the body. The average child can develop between 250 and 500 small blisters during their bout with the virus.
THE CHICKEN POX VACCINE
Vaccination against chicken pox is an optional vaccine in South Africa (meaning it doesn’t form part of the standard vaccinations on the government schedule), so you can have your child vaccinated against it. Once a child has been vaccinated against the disease, they are far less likely to contract it. If you take your baby to a general clinic for his vaccinations, always call to make sure you won’t need a script for this vaccine. If your clinic is affiliated with a paediatrician you probably won’t need to do this. “With a two-vaccine schedule at nine to 12 months and a booster at four to five years, chicken pox is a preventable disease, and will also remove the risk of developing shingles later in life,” says paediatrician Dr Paul Sinclair. However, you cannot give the vaccine earlier than this, leaving your baby open to infection from those around him.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
If you suspect your child has caught chicken pox, it’s imperative that you take him to the doctor as soon as possible. With young babies it is even more vital, as the disease can cause other complications. It’s important to let other parents and your baby’s daycare or preschool know once your child has been diagnosed. This will put other parents on alert to regularly check the children in their care for chicken pox symptoms.
Chicken pox is a virus and so a course of antibiotics would not normally be
Sleep is influenced by an array of things and sometimes there just isn’t a simple answer. That being said, I would suggest you address two things. First of all is your baby’s nutritional intake. If you are giving him water after his dinner, his stomach might feel too full to finish a last milk feed for the day. The key here is to make sure he’s actually getting enough milk, as this is still a big part of his diet at this age, so perhaps you should drop the water and give him a milk feed only. I also think your baby has not learned how to sleep unaided and so he’s relying on sucking and drinking to go to sleep. If a baby has associated sucking with sleep, it becomes the only way to calm him when he transitions sleep cycles at night. The result of this is a baby waking up every hour for that sucking – you presume your child is hungry because he vigorously takes to the bottle or breast, but it is actually the associations he has with feeding and sleep that are causing the problem. You need to help your baby make new associations and teach him to self-soothe. Offer a comfort object that he can do this with. You may also want to look into have a session or two with a sleep consultant to help you.
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prescribed. Dr Sinclair says: “Antibiotics are only prescribed if a case of secondary skin infection or a chicken pox pneumonia have developed.”
CHICKEN POX SKIN CARE AND TREATMENT
DISCIPLINE, DON’T PUNISH You want to shape your child’s will but not break it, says Ann. Discipline is about guiding, teaching and socialising your tot, and by doing so you’ll also teach her the consequences of her actions. Ann adds that she does not believe harsh punishment is necessary to raise happy, confident, selfdisciplined children.
BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL Act the way you would like your toddler to. “This is the best way for your toddler to learn the correct behaviour,” says Dr Lauren Stretch, early childhood development expert and founder of the Early Inspiration programme.
SO WHEN YOUR TODDLER IS...
…BOSSY “Your child will mimic your verbal exchanges, so when you snap ‘Put your clothes on now!’ you imply that a bossy tone is acceptable. Make requests rather than give commands: ‘Could you please wash your hands before dinner?’” explains Dr Stretch.
“Teach appropriate words to use, like: ‘May I use the crayon now?’ instead of ‘Crayon, now.’ Try some give and take. When you say it is time to put toys away and your child asks to finish her puzzle, show that you are open to compromise by letting her complete it. Compliment your child when she speaks politely or shares – this fosters more good manners,” she adds.
…PICKING HER NOSE This could simply be due to boredom, so try to distract your child and ignore the nose picking.
…LYING No matter how upset you are about your little Pinocchio, try to see lying as normal experimentation and not as a moral issue. “Kids do not understand that lying is wrong until they are about four,” says Dr Stretch, who also gives the following tips:
Don’t set your child up to tell you a lie. Asking, “Did you knock over this lamp while you were running?” will only prompt a denial. Instead say: “Our new lamp is broken. This is why we have a rule of no running in the house.” Never call your child a liar. Avoid temptations that could lead to lying, like leaving cookies or sweets within reach and then telling her not to touch them.
Do not overpunish for telling a lie. This will only provoke her to come up with a more sophisticated lie.
When your child answers your questions honestly, praise her truthfulness, fix the problem together and reward her by forgoing punishment.
…WHINING “Children learn quickly that a no is not
always final,” says Dr Stretch. “Be consistent when you say no, so your child does not read it as a maybe. If it is a toy your child wants, suggest putting it on a wish list for an upcoming birthday or holiday. Or make a compromise. Something like ‘No, I can’t buy that board game, but you can choose a new video to watch tonight,’ is a good option to use.”
HE IS SOMEWHAT SELF SUFFICIENT Would you be comfortable if your child got up before you in the morning and was left to his own devices?
HE UNDERSTANDS “IMAGINARY BOUNDARIES” If the first thing your child wants
You’re trying for baby number two, but the months roll past with no result, or you fall pregnant but it ends in miscarriage. This is what’s known as secondary infertility. What makes this especially hard is that it is often downplayed or ignored by your family and close friends, because you already have a child. You may also be put off looking for help because you assume that infertility can’t happen to you. However, don’t wait too long before seeking help, says specialist gynaecologist and fertility expert Dr Chris Venter of Vitalab.
IS IT JUST ME?
It may seem like you’re the only person to have ever had this problem, but in fact secondary infertility is relatively common. “We are definitely seeing a marked rise in secondary infertility – and this is a worldwide trend,” says Dr Venter. He says that this is in part because many people are delaying having their second child and so they’re older, or are trying to have a child in a second relationship. “The