At some point in our childhood, we might have experienced chicken pox. While chicken pox most often occurs in children under the age of 12, it can also occur in adults who never had it as children.
Chickenpox is an itchy rash of spots that look like blisters and can appear all over the body while accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Chickenpox is very contagious, which is why your pediatrician in places a strong emphasis on keeping infected children out of school and at home until the rash is gone.
What are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?
When a child first develops chickenpox, they might experience a fever, headache, sore throat or stomachache. These symptoms may last for a few days, with a fever in the 101-102 F range. The onset of chicken pox causes a red, itchy skin rash that typically appears on the abdomen or back and face first, then spreads to almost any part of the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs and genitals.
The rash begins as multiple small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites, which are usually less than a quarter of an inch wide. These bumps appear in over two to four days and develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. When the blister walls break, the sores are left open, which then dries into brown scabs. This rash is extremely itchy and cool baths or calamine lotion may help to manage the itching.
What are the Treatment Options?
A virus causes chickenpox, which is why your pediatrician in will not prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. However, your child might need an antibiotic if bacteria infects the sores, which is very common among children because they will often scratch and pick at the blisters—it is important to discourage this. Your child’s pediatrician in will be able to tell you if a medication is right for your child.
If you suspect your child has chickenpox, contact your pediatrician right away!
Yes, we are in the middle of an epidemic in Central Illinois: influenza has blasted our communities for about three weeks now.
Is this an unusual year? As a spokesperson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this fall, "There is no such thing as a typical influenza season." Our assessment is that the volume of illness is higher than most years and the symptoms are not as severe as they often are. Unfortunately, we are seeing many people who were vaccinated who have come down with the illness, but they seem to be not as sick as the unimmunized children.
What to look for: rapid onset of harsh cough, marked fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches all suggest influenza.
What to do: treat the symptoms with rest, increased fluids and acetaminophen or ibuprofen but be sure not to use any old-fashioned aspirin. (This can cause severe complications.) Call the office if your child's symptoms are more than mild. Those who are seen within 48 hours of onset of the illness may be candidates for medication that will shorten the illness a little and make the symptoms less severe.
Should I still get my child vaccinated? Yes! This epidemic might go on for months. Call for a flu shot today!
The news and rumor storms around scary medical matters can make it hard to know what to believe. Our doctors have been getting a steady stream of information about Ebola virus. This website from the CDC provides the best resources for parents, teachers and medical personnel that we have seen. We hope that this helps you know when to be concerned about Ebola and what actions you should take.
Many parents have told us that they have heard and read about the severe Enterovirus respiratory infections in children and teenagers that have occurred in the Midwest in recent weeks. Happily, our area has not seen much of this but parents are still concerned.
This bulletin sent to our doctors from the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics provides some of the clearest information about this condition that we have seen, including some details about the illness in Illinois.
If your child comes down with symptoms of a common cold that is almost certainly what it is. Treat it as you always would. If you observe severe or frequent cough, labored or rapid breathing, please contact us promptly.
Nurses and doctors from Bloomington Pediatrics and Allergy served as "VIPs" with the Saint Jude's Telethon earlier this month. We were touched and gratified to receive many gifts by phone, on-line and in person from patients, their families and our colleagues in the community. THANK YOU to so many who helped bring us closer to eliminating cancer in children!
P.S. We hope that you will consider donating to this effort next year too! :-)
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