Anyone else at home with a spotty human? This week, there seems to be an outbreak of that pesky little infection that every parent dreads. We anticipate the arrival of chickenpox, having been told that most children will suffer a week of itching at its expense at some stage.
We nurse-up, stockpile calamine lotion and prepare for some sleepless nights - something we are all used to. However, no amount of chickenpox-prep can make the 10-14 days easy and the whole ordeal can leave parents feeling exhausted.
To help you out, we have come up with 5 tips on how to survive a week at home with kids with chickenpox.
1. Use that Bath
If you have a bath, use it. If you can, be ready to draw a bath whenever the itching gets too much. You'll find the tub is your best buddy during the outbreak as lukewarm water cools and soothes the spots and acts as a great distraction. Fill the bath with toys and let them soak while you recuperate with a cuppa. Remember: dab the skin dry after the bath to avoid irritating the spots!
2. Away with screen time limits
Just to be clear: chickenpox children do not have a screen time limit. Itching can cause scars and infection so anything that distracts them from the itch should be used often, and that includes TV time. Netflix is abundant with fab shows that play one episode after the other. Take advantage of this and try not to feel guilty if you've hired Netflix to babysit.
Yes, screens are damaging but watching your children suffer and dealing with grumpy kids while running on no sleep, is also damaging. Take a break and let technology take over.
3. Use Calamine lotion
This milky substance can be bought over the counter and will be another BFF during this tough time. It is cool, soft on the skin and can be applied by dabbing the spots by using cotton wool- though you will want to run a bath full of it at some stage. The liquid dries up the chickenpox and stops the itch, temporarily at the start but can help with the overall healing process. Ask your doctor what other medication you should use.
Most will recommend Calpol if your child has a temperature. Make sure you are informed on this and in good supply- it will make things MUCH easier.
4. Feed them when they're hungry
A worrying symptom of chickenpox can be tummy aches and loss of appetite. With this in mind, feed them while they are hungry. If they ask for a yoghurt or a slice of toast before dinner, you are fully entitled to indulge.
You could find your little ones are off their food in the morning, so do not be afraid to give them what they will eat to keep them happy- they will be irritable enough without throwing hanger into the mix. We all try our best to be as healthy as possible with our kids, but an outbreak of chickenpox can call for at least some bending of the rules.
Maybe stock up some lolly pops for emergencies.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help
Chickenpox is a nightmare for kids but can be almost as stressful for parents. If you have supportive parents or friends or family willing to help, use them. Say yes to a break when possible. Take shifts with your partner during the night. Though it goes against all mummy instincts, try to tune out when someone else takes over.
Go for a walk to clear your head of the whining and screeching that accompanies the virus. Opt for a takeaway or ask for help in the kitchen if you don't feel like cooking after an exhausting day.
Do not try to be super mum during this milestone infection, because you already are.
Remember: Don't expose infected children to elderly relatives, young babies or anyone with an immune system problem.