As the national shortage of chickenpox treatments continues – a cheap food you probably already have at home may help soothe your child’s skin. But, doctors have warned against using a common painkiller
Image: Health Check Wales)
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that mostly affects children, but you can get it at any age.
Contrary to popular belief, you can also get chickenpox more than once in your life, although it is rare for this to happen.
Symptoms of chickenpox come in three stages but usually clears up itself after one or two weeks, meaning there’s no need to contact your GP.
The disease starts with small spots that can appear anywhere on the body, including the inside of the mouth and around the genitals, which can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful.
These spots, which can either spread or stay in a small area of the body, then fill with fluid and turn into blisters. It is this stage where chickenpox becomes notoriously itchy. After a while, the blisters will scab up and may leak fluid before healing completely.
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According to the NHS, other symptoms include a high temperature, aches and pains, loss of appetite and generally feeling unwell.
It’s important not to pick or scratch at any of these stages, as it can lead to scarring of the skin and even infection.
Unfortunately, there is a national shortage of chickenpox treatments such as poxyclin. However, a common kitchen staple that costs as little as 90p could help alleviate the itchiness.
Dr Zoe Williams recommends putting a handful of oats in either a sock or pair of tights and place it over the tap while running the bath.
“The water should look cloudy,” she told the Sun. “You can also dab the sock directly onto the spots in the bath… Oats have anti inflammatory properties and can soothe and reduce itching”.
The NHS also recommends drinking plenty of fluids, cutting children’s finger nails short so they can’t scratch their skin, wearing loose clothes and bathing in cool water.
It also suggests taking paracetamol to help with any pain or discomfort. However, ibuprofen should not be taken to clear symptoms, unless advised to do by a doctor. This is because it can cause serious skin infections.