18 March 2011
By Ruth Dsouza
Kids being more prone to this illness, experts and schools suggest right food, hygiene and treatment
Dr Ravishankar Adiga, a paediatrician, says children "should be allowed to contract chicken pox and run the whole cycle". This gives them complete immunity. However, working parents prefer vaccinating their kids. Generally, one vaccination shot is recommended up to the age of 12 years. For children above 13 years, two shots spread over six weeks are suggested.
- Begin medication as soon as possible (ideally within 48 hours) to contain the spread and intensity
- There is no diet restriction. Many say oily food is to be avoided. This has no relation to the illness. Actually, digestion is affected during viral infections and oily food can result in gas formation. Lots of fruits are recommended.
- Lots of hydration
- Do not bathe the child till the scabs have fallen off. Moisture may increase the itching that the pustules bring on. They should dry and fall on their own. Else, they will form scars. This can also lead to secondary bacterial infections.
- Students appearing for board exams (SSLC, PUC) should be vaccinated at least three weeks before the summer sets in. If exposed to chicken pox, then vaccination should be given within three days of exposure to reduce the chances of contraction.
Since the illness is contagious, parents are worried about sending their children to schools. Manas Mehrotra, trustee/ educationist at Greenwood High, Whitefield, says, "The best way to deal with the situation is to educate students who, in turn, will act as teachers to their parents. Of late, during the school assembly, we explained to students about chicken pox. We told them the symptoms and what to look out for. We encourage students who are feeling ill to come to the teachers. Teachers have been trained to spot the symptoms of chicken pox early on."
- Spray air fresheners with antibacterial properties before and after every class.
- Constant vigil by teachers to ensure early detection.
- Ensure students’ hands and fingernails are clean.
- Ensure utensils in the cafeteria are disinfected.
- Encourage healthy practices - nutritious food, good sleep, good hygiene
- Chickenpox is: A viral infection. Extreme weather conditions (cool mornings and hot days) facilitate the growth and spread of this virus.
- Symptoms: Look out for headaches, low fevers, reddish rashes and water-filled pustules. They will appear on the face, chest, hands and legs. In severe cases, pustules appear in the eyes as well as in the mouth.
- Duration: Generally the illness lasts 14 days. With vaccinations, this period comes down to 10-12 days.