Although there is a vaccination for Chicken Pox, it is not commonly administered to children even though they have the highest incidences of the disease in the United States. While it can be quite severe at times, it is most likely to be more severe in adults than children. Also, keep in mind that Chicken Pox tends to run in outbreaks as it is highly communicable. Once one child comes down with it, the disease will run rampant among other students in school or daycare and also among children and playmates in the neighborhood. If you are looking at how to prevent Chicken Pox scars, this means you either have been exposed to this pesky virus or have a child suffering from it. Following are some suggestions on how to prevent Chicken Pox scars, most of which can be used by children and adults alike.
Common symptoms of Chicken Pox include running a fever, headaches, back aches, sore throat and a rash that is identifiable because of the fluid filled blisters that appear. However, the worst symptom of all is the itching that comes along with those blisters. If you want to prevent scarring, don’t scratch! Most often scars left behind after Chicken Pox is over are the result of infections caused by scratching those itchy pox.
Tried and True Calamine Lotion
For generations, calamine lotion has been used to reduce the itch associated with insect bites, allergies and even Chicken Pox and Measles. Not only does it help to reduce the itch, but it is also an astringent which will help to draw the fluid out of the blisters promoting quicker healing times. Whether you use plain calamine lotion or calamine with added antihistamines (i.e. diphenhydramine hydrochloride) to prevent itching is totally up to you. Some people find that the addition of antihistamines helps to reduce itching.
When Scratching Is Unavoidable
Sometimes it is next to impossible to avoid scratching those itches! Most often this is the case with smaller children so it is suggested that you put gloves or mittens on them. In the old days, mom used to put a sock on the hands of toddlers with a rubber band around the wrist to keep them on. This makes good sense since white socks can be bleached to prevent spreading the disease. Alternately, whether the infected individual is an adult or child, clip the nails as short as possible to prevent breaking the skin open with fingernails.
Healing Lotions and Creams
Many moms may be familiar with Cocoa Butter as it is a common treatment for those nasty stretch marks that are a common problem after pregnancy. Creams such as Cocoa Butter, which is quite reasonably priced, can be used once the outbreak is over. Similar products to use would be lotions and creams which contain Vitamin E as well as any creams containing other antioxidants. Also, creams or ointments containing antihistamines or cortisone would also be beneficial in preventing itching. All of these products are readily available OTC and generic products are equally effective as name brands.
Just as it is possible to use anti-itch creams and lotions containing antihistamines or cortisone-type anti-inflammatories to reduce itching, there are a number of oral medications on the market as well. Diphenhydramine HCL is available OTC and is quite useful in reducing itch. Cortisone medications are also effective, but these would need a prescription and are not generally prescribed to small children. One thing to keep in mind is that it is not a good idea to use both topical and oral antihistamines at the same time as some of the topical medication is absorbed into the bloodstream. This could lead to an overdose if you are not careful.
Keeping Chicken Pox Cleansed to Reduce Scarring
As mentioned above, the most common cause of scarring is due to infections caused by scratching those itches. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans go awry. No matter how hard you work at refraining from scratching during waking hours, going to sleep is another matter altogether. For this reason, it is imperative to cleanse with antibacterial soap. Some parents bathe their children in a lukewarm bath while using antibacterial soap to cleanse the pox in an effort to avoid infection and resultant scarring.
Sunscreens to Prevent Permanent Scarring
Once the blisters have healed and dried up, it is possible to get out and about once again. By this point the fever is gone and the disease is beyond being contagious. Nonetheless, you will want to make every effort to prevent those left behind white spots and scars from becoming permanent. Most often they will fade and blend in with your normal skin tone within 12 to 18 months, but if you overexpose them to UV radiation from the sun they could become permanently etched on your skin. You should always use sunscreen as preventative measures against UV radiation, but even more importantly to prevent any new scars from becoming permanent.
It should be perfectly evident by this time that the most effective way to prevent Chicken Pox scars is to avoid scratching! In a perfect world this might be possible, but not probable. As a result, do your best to avoid digging at those pox with one or more of the suggestions listed here. Once the disease has passed, use healing lotions and creams while protecting your skin from direct sunlight. A combination of treatments will most often work best, but some amount of scarring might be unavoidable. Even so, most often those slight scars probably won’t be apparent to anyone but you!