So, these last 10 days, I was struggling with the chickenpox for the VERY FIRST time in my life!
Considering my age which is not young anymore, get this chickenpox while I was terribly busy with experiments in the lab, was really unexpected and annoying thing to happen.
However, it is what it is! The virus was already incubating in my body and I had to deal with it!
So, on the Day-1 when I realised that I have red bumps on my body, I was trying to make an appointment with a doctor by a phone call. After 3x calling-back-and-forth, they decided not to see me that day. Just because they thought it is not urgent, yet. And I was still developing the chickenpox symptom. They said “nothing to worry about. As long as you’re not pregnant, then the risk is less. You only need to consume healthy food and drinks. Call us back again if the headache is becoming terrible or you can’t handle the itch anymore”
I was like…..
Anyhow, my treatment was started with Googling (aha! thanks to technology!). I learnt the cause of chickenpox, things to avoid, diet for chickenpox, how to increase immune system, how contagious this will be, and etc.
..And in this following post, I’ll try to make a summary of my home treatment which make me recovered in 7 days! (Alhamdoulillah!)
Chickenpox Symptom and Stages
So, as you may know that chickenpox is caused by the Varicella zoster virus. You can get exposed by this virus from everywhere outside. The person whom never get chickenpox before or the person whom never get any vaccine, will be in high risk to be infected. Especially when the immune system is dropping. A person who has chickenpox can spread the virus even before he or she has any symptoms. Chickenpox is most easily spread from 2 to 3 days before the rash appears until all the blisters have crusted over.
The first symptoms of chickenpox usually develop about 14 to 16 days after contact with a person infected with the virus. Symptoms include a fever, a generally ill feeling, and the development of a widely scattered, itchy rash of red spots and fluid-filled blisters. It takes about 1 or 2 days for a chickenpox red spot (macule) to go through all of its stages. It will blister, burst, dry, and crust over. New red spots will appear every day for up to 5 to 7 days.
It usually takes about 11-15 days after the first symptoms before all blisters have crusted over. This is when the person with chickenpox can return to day care, school, or work. (Source)
..And this following picture shows how the chickenpox stages look like (Source).
At the beginning, it was really hard to accept the condition that I need to be quarantined at home for -at least- 10 days. I never been at home for that long period. As I am a very restless person. I can’t just sit and still without doing anything. In addition, I literally had much to do in my hands for the research. Not to mention that my MSc student was planning to give the thesis final presentation, and it would be really disappointment, me -as the supervisor- can’t join it. Then again, like it or not, this happened.
So, here is my first tip to all chickenpox patients everywhere in the world, especially whom get this disease at adult age: “Be acceptance! Realising that you are ill is the very very early step that you tell your body to prepare for the battle! It would not give you any advantage (to your immune system), when you keep anger or disappointment. So, just go for it. And be ready to defeat the virus!”
Also, what I really find it useful, is that “talk to the right person who can give you helpful suggestions!”. Chickenpox symptom is not fun at all. And you don’t want to add it more by having some discouraging comments around you.
So, first thing first: what you need to avoid.
Things to Avoid and Diet Restrictions
DO NOT give ASPIRIN to people younger than 20, because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious problem. (Source)
Prevent yourself from secondary bacterial infection. As this may slow the chickenpox stages.
Chickenpox food to avoid includes dairy products, meats, bread or any other kind of heavy food that is difficult for the body to process. Or especially the food, which has high in saturated fat. This type of food can promote the inflammation
Stay away from junk foods as well. They have little or no nutritional value to offer the body. (Source)
Avoid the spicy and salty food. Spicy and salty foods can irritate sores in the mouth and throat.
Avoid arginine source food. Arginine, an amino acid, can help promote the replication of the virus. This replication can spur a more serious and long-lasting case of the chickenpox than you may have originally had. Do not eat foods that contain large amounts of arginine, including chocolate, peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, peanut butter and raisins. (Source) (whyyyyy it has to be my favourite stuff in the world: chocolate???)
Avoid sugary and processed food
When to see Doctors?
There would be some suggestions in which condition that you need to see doctors. I give you a summary in this following section:
When you get infected by chickenpox and you are pregnant!
The headache becomes terrible, and you are suffered from dizziness and throwing up.
You have difficulties to breathe. (Remember, the virus could infect your lung, as well!)
You have secondary bacterial infection which is really worse.
You have infection in your eyes.
You get suffered from the itchy.
To relieve the pain and headache, I only take Paracetamol twice a day, or even once. It depends on whether I had the fever or headache. Since chickenpox is caused by virus, using antibiotics to cure it is ineffective, including cases of complications by chickenpox pneumonia. So, you only relay on your immune system!
Always keep yourself hygiene! Remember, that you don’t want to have secondary bacterial infection. To avoid this, I take a cool bath using the disinfectant solution, such as Dettol.
Some sources also mention to take a cool bath with additional of finely ground powder oatmeal and baking soda to relieve the itch. I also tried this several times and I found it is very helpful! However, if you want to have this treatment, I suggest to put those powder in a cloth-bag, soak them in water, swirl them around until you get milky water. By doing this, you would only have the extract of oatmeal and baking soda, without any lumps or traces.
Take a cool bath using Sebamed soap. As it has pH 5.5 and no harsh alkaline material, thus it is very helpful for the irritated skin or allergic skin.
You can buy the Acyclovir cream (this one doesn’t need Doctor’s prescription) to fasten the chickenpox stages on your skin. But remember, you can only use this cream for 4 days long with 4 hours interval per application, and maximum 5 applications for a day. Oh by the way, this is for external use only!
Trim and scrub fingernails regularly to prevent transferring any other bacteria to the skin while scratching.
Take a bed rest!
Food and Drinks for Chickenpox Treatment
As the chickenpox gets hard on your body, you may lost appetite or feel nausea. My second tip is: IGNORE THEM ALL! You need to take A LOT OF vitamins and minerals, as you only relay on your immune system! So, please take every goodness from the vegetables and fruits, and be strict with that!
Drink A LOT OF water! As you may prone to dehydration.
My morning and afternoon routine: a soup of carrot and coriander. Nothing beats this duo, as they provide you with vitamin A and rich in antioxidants. I boiled 2 cups of with water with chopped carrots and coriander. I let them evaporated until I left with 1 cup of water. Drink it while warm. You can also have this treatment even though you don’t have chickenpox. But probably only once a day is enough.
At the Day-1 until Day-3, I didn’t put any salt and pepper in my vegetable soup. I only have broccoli, carrot, maize, mushroom, tomato, green beans, “seasoned” with a lot of garlic, ginger and onions. This vegetable soup is really good as source of vitamins and zinc to improve your immune system. Spinach is also good! So, sometimes I used spinach instead of broccoli. (Oh by the way, you may not like the taste! Without any seasoning, it was very bleh! But again, I would like to recover soon, therefore I keep eating them)
Another food which are also good, such as cucumber (high-water content), tofu, egg.
As the source of carbohydrate, I took rice or potato. Smashed potato might be better as it will be softer and easy to chew.
Some sources also say that I need to avoid fish. But it is very hard to do in my case! So, at Day-3, I included grilled salmon (seasoned only with garlic powder) in my meals, but only for one portion in my 3-time meals.
Drink juices! In the afternoon, when I have my lunch, I usually drink a glass of orange juice for the source of vitamin C. However, if you have irritated mouth due to the spread of chickenpox, then this orange juice might be little bit harsh for you. The watermelon juice can be a really good substituent. Sometimes, I drank both juices in a day. (I didn’t know whether I would have had over-nourished condition or not. LOL. But, thanks liver!)
A cup of warm water with slices of ginger and a tablespoon of High Factor of Manuka Honey as antibacterial and curing agents. This drink is really shooting! I think that I would like to keep this as one of my daily routines.
I also tried some of these following recipes. You never get wrong with nutritious food and drinks!
So, they are all of my home treatment to cure chickenpox. I am really glad that I really feel better (of which all of the papuls are crusted over) in Day-7! I also didn’t suffer that much from the itch or headache or nausea. Indeed that I have red spots all over my body, but it was too little in amount compared what other people may usually have. Some scars are even already gone. However, even though I already feel better at Day-7, I keep staying at home until Day-10. Just because I would like to be totally recovered before I start again my busy schedule.
To sum up, you really need to have the spirit to battle the chickenpox virus! Do not loose hope! Eat well and drink a lot of vitamins. Take a good rest! Stay positive! Don’t be afraid of the scars. It may eventually disappear as the time goes by. Also, we live in the era where a lot of skincare products can do their job pretty well! 😉
Stay healthy, readers!