Keep your baby home from daycare until all the sores have crusted over to prevent her from spreading the disease and to give her time to recuperate. Unfortunately, children are most contagious the day or two before the rash erupts, usually before parents know their child is sick.

While your baby's recuperating, the most comforting thing you can do is relieve the itching. Give her a cool bath every three to four hours. Sprinkle baking soda or colloidal oatmeal (made specifically for the bath) into the water for added relief. (You can also use uncooked oats. Tie them in a cheesecloth bag and toss it in the tub.) After the bath, put calamine lotion on the itchy spots.

It may seem like an impossible task, but try to keep your baby from picking and scratching her sores, which can slow the healing process. Sores that aren't allowed to heal can leave scars or lead to skin infections such as impetigo. Keeping your baby's nails short can help.

Bring down your baby's fever with the proper dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to your child as it can trigger Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially deadly condition.

If your baby seems really uncomfortable, you might ask her doctor about giving her an over-the-counter children's antihistamine to help reduce the itching.

Doctors can prescribe an antiviral drug called acyclovir to treat chicken pox, but it's not generally recommended for otherwise healthy children. For children with weak immune systems, however, acyclovir can be crucial.



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