Rashes can commonly occur in viral infection, especially in young children. Chickenpox, roseola and hand-foot-and-mouth disease are some of the most common viral rashes. Viral rashes are frequently identified with small pink spots all over the body with symptoms such as fever and diarrhea.
Although most viral rashes will subside by its own, it can be very uncomfortable especially with chickenpox. Managing the itchiness will be vital as scratching the rash may lead to secondary bacterial infection and scarring.
The following are some of the suggestions that you may apply to make your child more comfortable and keep scratching under control.
1. Take a comforting baths
Warm to cool baths can help relieve itching. Take baths for 20 to 30 minutes as often as needed to stay clean and soothe the itchy skin. You can even add a handful of oatmeal powder for its soothing feature. There is also an oatmeal bath product available over-the-counter.
Do not use soap or use only a mild soap such as that for sensitive skin or for babies. Blot the skin dry after bathing. Don’t rub the skin.
2. Apply cool compresses
Apply cool compresses to the itchy areas using soft and absorbent cloth. Dab the cloth with cool water and apply it directly to the skin. Likewise, an oatmeal paste can relieve the itchiness. Grind the oatmeal into a powder and mix it with a little bit of warm water to make a paste. Spread the paste on a paper towel. Then, apply the paste side against the itchy area of skin for 10 to 15 minutes. Then gently wash and pat the skin dry.
3. Find relief with lotion
You can apply soothing lotions that can help dry the blisters and moisturize your skin. Calamine lotion or other lotions with phenol, menthol, and camphor can be a great option. Oatmeal lotion can also be useful. Avoid using antihistamine lotions for chickenpox.
4. Prevent skin irritation
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing and change clothes and bedsheets regularly. If clothes or linens seem to be irritating the skin, use mild laundry detergent. Stay out of sunlight as getting hot and sweating can trigger itching.
5. Take oral antihistamines
Oral antihistamines may be helpful to prevent scratching during sleep. If you bought over-the-counter oral antihistamines, do carefully follow the directions on the label. Children younger than 6 years old should not be given oral antihistamines. Please consult with your doctor before giving it to your child.
6. Avoid scratching
Make sure you or your child’s fingernails are cleaned and trimmed. Wash the child’s hands often to ensure the hygiene. Let your child wear mittens or clean cotton socks on his or her hands and apply bandages over open blisters. Try to distract your child from scratching.
Most importantly, make sure you or your child is getting enough sleep and is fed well. Fever increases water loss from the body hence getting adequate fluids is important. With proper care, most viral rashes are self-limited and your child will be back to health in a short period of time. Unless, if you suspected complications such as dehydration, worsening of rashes or fever, severe vomiting and diarrhoea, do contact your healthcare provider immediately for further intervention.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 25, 2019 | Last Modified: January 25, 2019
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Chickenpox: Controlling the Itch [Internet]. HealthLink BC. [cited 2019 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/ue4861
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