Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease, occurring usually in children. It usually affects children of three to four years of age. In most cases, the older the child, the more severe the attack.
Causes and Symptoms
Chicken pox usually begins with a low grade fever, a mild headache and a feeling of weakness. A rash appears on the skin on the first day of the disease. This is in the form of tiny red spots on the skin, mostly on the upper back or chest. In more severe cases, a rash may appear on the face and lower extremities. The papules turn into blisters and finally become pustules and form scabs, which fall off. They come in successive crops, so that while some are drying, others are beginning to form. The skin clears after a few days and the child feels well again. The duration of this disease ranges from ten to twenty-one days but is usually between fourteen and seventeen days.
Chicken pox is caused by a virus. Many researchers believe that the disease is closely related to a much more serious condition known as shingles or herpes zoster that affects adults. The basic cause of the disease, as in most cases of childhood fevers, is however, persistent wrong feeding of children, which results in diminished defence mechanisms of the body.
Brown Vinegar: The use of brown vinegar is one of the most important among the several home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of chicken pox. Half a cup of this vinegar should be added to a bath of warm water. This will relieve the irritation of the skin.
Oatmeal: A bath of oatmeal is considered a natural remedy for relieving the itch due to chicken pox. This bath is prepared by cooking two cups of oatmeal in two litres of water for fifteen minutes. This mixture is then put into a cloth bag, preferably cotton, and a string is tied tightly around the top. This bag is allowed to float in a tub of warm water, and swished around until the water becomes turbid. Precaution should be taken to ensure that the bag is not torn. The child with chicken pox can splash and play in the water, making sure that water goes over all the scalds, while the pouch of oatmeal can remain in the tub.
Pea Water: Green pea water is another effective remedy for relieving irritation of the skin. The water in which fresh peas have been cooked can be used for this purpose.
Baking Soda: Baking soda is a popular remedy to control the itching in chicken pox. Some baking soda should be put in a glass of water. The child should be sponged with this water, so
that the soda dries on the skin. This will keep the child away from scratching the eruptions.
Vitamin E Oil: The use of vitamin E oil is valuable in chicken pox . This oil should be rubbed on the skin. It will have a healing effect The marks left by chicken pox will fade away by this application.
Herbal Tea: A mild sedative herbal tea can also prove beneficial in the treatment of chicken pox. This tea can be prepared from any of the herbs like chamomile (babunah), basil (tulsi), marigold (zergut) and lemon balm (billilotan). A little cinnamon (idalchini), honey, and lemon may be added to this tea. It should be sipped slowly several times a day.
To begin with, the patient should be put on a juice diet for a few days. He should be given plenty of raw fruit and vegetable juices. Lemon juice is considered to be especially beneficial.
As the condition improves, the patient can be placed on an all-fruit diet for the next few days. Thereafter, he may be allowed to gradually adopt a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
A small warm-water enema should be administered daily during the initial juice fast to cleanse the bowels. The patient should be kept in a well-ventilated room. As light has a detrimental effect upon the eyes during an attack of chicken pox because of the weakened condition of the external eye tissues, the patient should shade his eyes from the direct light or the room should have subdued light Application of mud packs on the abdomen twice a day, in the morning and evening, and repeated applications of chest packs will be beneficial. Lukewarm water baths can be given every day to relieve itching. For better results, neem leaves can be added to this water. The nails of the child should be kept clipped to prevent him from scratching, otherwise, germs on the skin may be scratched into the blisters, causing more severe infection.