THE CHICKEN POX CHRON­I­CLES

12 months If your lit­tle one breaks out in a rash of red spots, here’s what to do

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your 12 Months Baby - BY CATH JENKIN

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.

Email your ques­tion for our ex­perts to: ker­[email protected] Please note that ex­perts un­for­tu­nately can­not re­spond to each ques­tion per­son­ally. The an­swers pro­vided on these pages should not re­place the ad­vice of your doc­tor.

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

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