Battling Chicken Pox

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Having three kids at home means there would be a lot of laughter, a lot of quarrels and of course, a lot of viruses spreading through and through.

As a mother with three kids, my biggest nightmare would be to deal with highly contagious illnesses, such as flu, hand-foot-mouth disease... aaaaaaaand chicken pox.

Yup. That's right.

We have been battling the chicken pox virus in the Tan's household for the past month. The kids have been down with it, one after another, each lasting a fortnight. I wouldn't say it was terrible for them? The kids barely felt any different, except for a constant slight fever and ridiculously itchy blisters, they had a ball of time playing at home instead of being in school!

It felt worse for me though. Apart from their bed times, there were squealing children at home 24/7. I couldn't work, couldn't cook, couldn't do housework properly. Not like I had the best sleep since ever, but when the older two went to school, I could still sneak in a nap when K is asleep. But now... sleep is a distinct thing that I can only wish for on my birthday.


Chicken Pox is really more of an inconvenience illness than a life-threatening or worrying one. While there are circumstances where Chicken Pox flares into something more serious, it is usually due to the infection of the wound, which is further aggravated by scratching.

I guess the most common question I get from my friends when I tell them the kids are down with Chix Pox is... "Why you no vaccinate them?"

To be honest, I didn't think it was a big deal to be vaccinated against chicken pox. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those anti-vaxxers! All my kids take their routine vaccines on time, and I even throw in optional vaccinations like those against Pneumococcal diseases. It's just... I feel like taking the Chicken Pox vaccine is akin to taking flu jabs? Like.. it is okay if you take it and completely okay if you don't.

So we didn't.

Also, in the past when we haven't had vaccinations, all of us had to go through a bout (or sometimes two!) of chicken pox. It's kinda like a growing up ritual, hahahaha. And I've heard people telling me things like it is better to let them acquire immunity naturally (erm..) or that it is better for them to get it when they are young.

It actually doesn't make me feel better lol. In fact, I feel very silly to have not vaccinated them, at least for Dy and A when they passed 1 year old.

If given a chance to choose again, will I vaccinate them? Hell yes I would. 

I think the most kesian one is my 4-month-old #3, who had to come down with Chicken Pox so young. It was really bad timing for her also because she is teething now, so itchy blisters and itchy gums are one of the worst combinations!

This was taken just a couple of days into the flare-up. Day 5 of her onset was the worst. She had SO MANY blisters on her head and face, even her ear lobes had blisters! Alexis had more on her torso, while Dylan generally had it the easiest with the least blisters.

If I could spare a tip or two for mummies who might be battling Chicken Pox like us... well, the first tip would be to vaccinate them when they are old enough! I think that would really save a lot of trouble. Not like we need to deal with one more infectious disease when we can avoid it entirely.

But let's just say if you are in our situation now, here are a few things I have learned in my one-month long Chicken Pox journey:

#1. Medication

Thankfully, unlike HFMD where there is completely no medication to treat, patients can take anti-virus medication to reduce the number of blisters and the intensity of the flare up. So hang in there, gear up the medication and calamine lotion and just keep applying, applying and applying.

#2. Take lots of showers

Taking showers help to make the skin breathe better and therefore less itchy. I think the gist of the entire episode is to reduce itchiness as much as possible so that children will not scratch. And if they don't scratch, the blisters tend to subside and dry up within 4 days. (But in the meantime, new ones sprout out too so.........)

#3. Listen to those old-wives tales, just in case

When I was young and went through my own bout of Chicken Pox, I was offered a lot of advices. One of the few that I take it to heart is to avoid taking prawn and dark soy sauce. Apparently, these two items will cause the blisters to be infected and to leave a scar, so better to be safe than to be sorry.

Recently, a grandmother shared with me that I am not supposed to give my kids any bean-related food. No red bean buns, no soya bean milk, no beancurd, no bean sprouts, no green bean soup, no red bean soup, just NO bean-anything. Because Chicken Pox is known as 水痘 (shui dou), which has the same sounding word as bean (also called dou, even though the writing is entirely different). So if I give them more dou (bean), they will have more dou (pox). Not quite sure whether to believe this or not lol.

Have you got any advice to share with me too? Or some horrifying chicken pox story lol.

I remember when I had Chicken Pox, it was an extremely chillax thing. We could still go downstairs run about and play. And mothers were generally very thankful to you if you spread it to their kids because... "the earlier they get the better". The only inconvenience I suffered was that I couldn't eat my Char Kway Teow and Chye Tao Kway because of the dark sauce wtf.

Some 25 years later, I get so terrified on bringing the kids out unless absolutely necessary. Mothers see my kids' polka-dotted face and would gasp and pull their children away like we've got the Plague. Same thing, but such a different response in a different time eh?

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  1. Oh no.. so sorry to hear that your kids are battling chicken pox. The 'no eating beans' rule is hilarious. Your post reminds me to take both kids for vaccination. I've been putting it off because of my current pregnancy. Also, I'm one of those (touch-wood) people who haven't experienced chicken-pox. I wonder if I would catch it off my kids when they are fresh off their shots?

    1. Yeah!Do vaccinate them if you can, however, my husband, who is also vaccinated, caught the chicken-pox virus anyway. :( So I am guessing it is not 100% foolproof. I am not sure about catching chix pox from vaccines, I doubt so? Otherwise, we will all be catching measles and mumps and all from our kids' immunisations...

      Maybe you can check with your gynae!

  2. I can completely understand your plight as a parent. It is terrible for a mom to see kids unwell.

  3. I can still remember the childcare days. Chickenpox, stomachFlu and HFMD (in fact all infectious disease) are nightmares! Poor parents normally have to take turn to nurse the kids back to healthy state.

    regards, Andy

  4. I haven't have chicken pox yet. After reading your story, i better find time to go vaccinate myself.
    Whenever kids fall sick, parents will be the first to suffer. Worse still is chicken pox and HFMD which is highly contagious and when you have more than 1 kid!

    1. Yessss!! OMG the virus just went around so easily even though we tried our best to isolate them in different rooms. -_- I guess if they are under the same household.. it is quite unavoidable. I dread Chix Pox, Stomach Flu and HFMD the most!!

  5. Seriously, I hate chicken pox. Had it at the age of 12 and it was a tortured. I vaccinated my children against it. At least if they ever get exposed to the virus, they won't suffer a lot. Prevention is always better. =) Take care!


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