Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Chicken Pox Infections
Even before a baby is born, he or she can be infected with the chicken pox virus. The chicken pox vaccine isnít given until the baby is between 12-18 months. Some feel that the baby has natural immunities until then. This is especially true for babies that are nursed. Some babies will still get chicken pox.
When a pregnant woman is exposed to chicken pox, if she hasn't had chicken pox, she can be infected with the virus. No one can control what they are exposed to, but everyone can eat healthy, get exercise, take supplements, and get adequate rest to assure their immune system is strong. Even if an illness or infection can't be fought off completely, it will be a milder infection when the immune system is strong. During first and second trimester chicken pox infection, there is a slight chance of CVS (congenital varicella syndrome), with the highest risk between weeks 13 and 20 weeks gestation.
When a pregnant woman gets chicken pox during the third trimester of her pregnancy, there are usually no risks to the baby. For women who get chicken pox 5-12 days before giving birth, there is a chance that the baby will develop chicken pox. Some babies donít get chicken pox, but will develop a mild case of shingles in infancy or early childhood.
Babies who are nursed are less likely to get chicken pox or any other illness. When a mom develops chicken pox between 5 days before giving birth and two days after giving birth, there are more risks to the baby because the baby doesnít have the opportunity to receive the antibodies from the mom. There is a high risk of the newborn developing newborn chicken pox (neonatal varicella). Chicken pox can have more risks when a newborn gets chicken pox and a healthcare provider should be contacted.
Healthy babies can develop chicken pox and it will normally run its course without incident. Babies should be monitored carefully for any signs of complications. Since babies canít communicate, the parents will need to be observant.
Some of the complications of chicken pox will include the following:
If there is any question if the babyís symptoms are a sign of a complication, contact a healthcare professional. If the baby seems ďout of itĒ, difficult to wake up, has trouble breathing, seek immediate care. It is better to get the baby checked than to miss a serious complication.
Mostly the chicken pox virus will need to just run its course, but the symptoms can be treated. Chicken pox is a viral infection, so antibiotics will only be helpful if there is a bacterial infection, like a skin infection from the pox becoming infected. Do not give aspirin for relieve because of the risk of Reye Syndrome. Baths are very soothing for babies and can help with the itching and can help lower a temperature. Pat the baby dry after a bath to avoid irritating the blisters or scabs. Calamine lotion will help with itching. Avoid the area around the eyes. If it is put on the babyís hands, cover the hands so the baby doesnít get the lotion in his or her mouth. Keep the baby hydrated. Acetaminophen can help with discomfort. Follow any directions given by a healthcare professional.
Babies usually donít get chicken pox and those that do will usually be able to tolerate it running its course.
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