Tips for coping with chicken pox

After years of awaiting it, Edith has finally had chicken pox. Yes, finally! She’s 3.5 years old and the nursery came to us when we collected her on friday afternoon to tell us that it looked like she had started with a couple of little dots on her neck… it *might* be chicken pox, but we can’t be sure, they said. By Saturday night we had temps of 39.7C and a spot-a-saurus for a child. When the boys had it Reuben was covered in spots and Toby, though never as bad, kept getting more and more after waking up with his ‘king pin’ a day or two after Roo broke out, but I can honestly say that Edith has had the worst bout out of the three, she had so many spots that we really did worry it was measles and not chicken pox at one point!

Fortunately for me, both all the kids have dealt with it really well, despite being a little bit clingier than usual, it was more a case of bad tempers/grumpiness and poor sleeping over the first few days (which we now understand but at the time chalked up to testing boundaries). Toby suffered the worst with vomiting and diarrhoea before the spots arrived, which you can’t really do anything about other than keep them hydrated, but then Edith suffered the most through the night with merciless itching and soreness. It really is so awful to see!

He's completely covered in these little spots - Toby's aren't so severe yet, but there are more popping up all the time!

Unfortunately both boys were graced with quite a few spots on their faces (Reuben had an especially nasty spot on his chin and one in his hair line – though we seem to have managed to avoid scarring) and Edith had a couple that I think may well scar on her hairline, chin and under her arm. The older the child, the worse the chicken pox seem to be and it’s a cause for concern for parents because it’s so much more difficult to stop them from scratching! I thought I would share a few of my tips with you for coping with chicken pox but please always remember to consult your doctor, I’m not a specialist – these are things that worked for my kids and this is in no way me giving out medical advice.

  • Virasoothe – to be dabbed all over the spots, this was golden for us. It acts as a barrier and soothes the spots – Roo thought it was hilarious when I was dabbing it all over his spots and it did seem to help his itching. For kids that are prone to dry skin calamine can be quite drying so we were told to avoid it like the plague and use virasoothe–  amazing for soothing the skin. You can find it at boots.
  • Poxclin, which you can also find here at boots, was even better than Virasoothe for Edith because it seemed to cool her down completely. We applied this all over and it made a world of difference to her during the day.

   •    Allergy relief medication for kids – this was something that the doctor told me to use when I called for some advice because of the big spot on Roo’s chin and forehead. It takes away the itchiness of your child’s spots and helps them to stop scratching. We used an own brand liquid as the boys are too young to take tablets easily. This was so helpful for Reuben when he first started.

   •    Bio oil! That little bottle of bio oil that you have left over from your pregnant days is back in business! I was advised that once all of the spots have scabbed over bio oil is a fantastic way to ensure that they don’t scar and heel well. 

   •    Don’t push them to wear their clothes. For the first few hours when Reuben’s spots all showed up he flatly refused to wear anything – pants, tops, trousers – you name it, he refused it and Edith was much the same. I just rolled with it and let them stay nude-y rude-y, we’re in the house and the house was warm. I would advise against pushing the subject, the clothes may irritate the skin and cause the child to scratch more, which is what we ultimately want to avoid!

   •    Baking soda baths! I mentioned these baths in my post about treating really sore nappy rash (you can read it here) and they are great for chicken pox too! They really seem to take them sting out of any scabs or the itch out of the spots. We had two a day while the spots were sore or scabby and it was great.

  • Make an oat bath – this was a life saver for Edith, genuinely the only thing that kept her happy in the day was sitting with her bath board, Netflix and me sponging an oat pouch over her back. To make one, use a muslin square, fill it with oats – just normal porridge oats are fine – and a tablespoon of baking soda (bicarb), then wrap it up, tie with a hair bobble or elastic band and run under the water, then leave in the tub. The water turns milky and I spent hours squeezing the pouch over Edith’s back which released a milky, slightly slimy water that seemed to help her immensely.

   •    Finally socks over hands at night time will help to stop your child from scratching in their sleep. I’m pretty sure this is how Roo managed to make the scab on his chin so sore, and I have to admit he did pull off the socks, but I did manage to get them back on after he’d fallen asleep. This didn’t work so well with Edith because she’s older, but for kids of 2 and under mitts is advised!

I hope a few of these tips help you if you are suffering with chicken pox in your house! If you have any tips of your own I’d love to hear them!

Harriet x


  1. Victoria
    May 31, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    This is great info. My 2 big girls are scarred on their faces & bodies from using calamine lotion as advised by GP. Both have sensitive skin. Might try bio oil on them now…. might still help…. possibly…. worth a try 🙂

  2. May 31, 2018 / 12:15 am

    My friend’s four year old daughter woke up yesterday with the chickenpox, and it’s been really painful and itchy for her. I like your idea to use allergy relief medication for kids to help take away the itchiness and stop scratching. Unfortunately, I don’t think she keeps that kind of medication on hand. It would probably be best if she just took her daughter to a pediatrician to get the kind of treatment that she needs. Thanks for the tips!

  3. December 18, 2017 / 10:21 am

    You can also try Honey and Oatmeal. These two home remedies works like wonder. Personally tested, spreading a thin layer of honey can help with the itching and rashes too.

  4. September 14, 2014 / 8:33 am

    Fabulous, what a website it is! This weblog gives valuable information to us, keep it up.

  5. April 8, 2014 / 1:37 pm

    Thanks for this. On my return from Harrogate Nursery Fair my daughter flared up with this. She’s ten and finding it amusing that she won’t have to go back to school till after the Easter holidays! We thought she’s had it once before but that time it turned out to be an allergic reaction – diagnosed by her GP when the spots wouldn’t fade. So we have some allergy relief stuff here which I wouldn’t have thought of using, so thanks again for an informative post.

    • Harriet April 8, 2014 / 7:46 pm

      Hi Cathrine,

      I’m really pleased this is going to be helpful for you! I hope she doesn’t suffer too much! Harriet x

  6. Jane
    April 8, 2014 / 11:49 am

    Calamine lotion is no longer reccommended. Initially it will sooth the itching but will dry as a crust and is then no benefit and can make itching worse…

    • Harriet April 8, 2014 / 1:04 pm

      Thanks Jane – that’s really interesting. Our doctor actually recommended calamine lotion and said it was only an issue if the child had a skin condition such as eczema, in which case you should use aqueous cream mixed with calamine lotion. Harriet x

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