Can Newborns Be Around Chickenpox?

Chickenpox has always been a contagious disease. It’s a disease that has been dreaded by many, even adults. But can babies get this virus even after all the antibodies that have been passed on to her while inside the womb and through breastfeeding?

Newborns, in the slightest chance, can still be infected with the chickenpox virus. With all the antibodies babies get from the mother inside the womb, and while breastfeeding, they should not come down with the virus. But in rare cases, babies who get infected are reported to have mild cases only.

It is highly suggested by experts and seasoned moms not to bring your newborns near anyone who has been infected by chickenpox. You don’t want to compromise your baby’s safety by letting your guards down during a chickenpox outbreak.

How Can I Protect My Newborn From Chickenpox?

Newborns can’t be vaccinated from chickenpox until they are 12 months old. But they have passive immunity from the introduction of antibodies while they were inside the womb and given that they are breastfeeding now.

The best thing to do to protect our newborns from getting infected is by staying healthy and keeping her away from people who are infected with chickenpox.

We also have what we call “herd immunity” or “community immunity” that indirectly protects newborns and babies from getting the disease. When the people in your community have been vaccinated, the chance of an outbreak is very low. Congratulations if you belong to such community!

How Do I Get The Chickenpox Virus?

The virus called varicella-zoster spreads easily from the infected person to other people. You can be infected, especially if you have a weak immune system or have not been vaccinated yet, through direct contact with the blisters or saliva of a person who has chickenpox.

It is also airborne which means you can be contracted with the disease by just breathing in the same air with virus particles that come from the leak of blisters or the saliva that get into the air after they talk, cough, or sneeze.

Shingles also carry the varicella-zoster virus. If you get infected with the shingles disease, it may develop to chickenpox.

You may acquire chickenpox 10 to 21 days after exposure.

How Long Am I Contagious?

Unfortunately, you are contagious from a day or two before the rash starts to appear and you will continue to remain so until your blisters are covered and scabbed over and dry. This may take 5 to 10 days or longer. So, if you are the infected person, please be patient. Please understand that in order to protect your family and friends, you need to isolate yourself until you are healed.

How Do I Know That My Baby Has Chicken Pox?

Chickenpox symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Poor feeding
  • Coughing
  • Irritability
  • Listless or weakness
  • Excessive sleeping

The rash may start to appear after two days of experiencing any of these symptoms. The red itchy rash may start anywhere and grow all over your body. After 2-4 days, there will be as many as 200 to 500 itchy bumps that will cover your body. Please be careful not to scratch too much because it might lead to further infection and permanent scars.

Do I Need To See A Doctor If My Baby Got Infected?

For most babies, chickenpox is mostly mild and the virus usually goes away after 2-4 weeks without any complication. But if you think that your baby looks worse than expected, call your doctor immediately.

Here are some abnormal symptoms that signal you to call your doctor:

  • Infected blisters or open wounds
  • Chest pains and difficulty in breathing
  • Rash in one or both eyes
  • Muscle pains and tremors
  • Severe coughing
  • Vomiting

The symptoms mentioned above may lead to some severe illnesses, so it is important to consult your doctor about this. He might give your baby medicine prescriptions to tone down the situation or advise you to hospitalized your baby to be monitored more closely.

Home Remedies For Chickenpox-Infected Babies

There are no shortcuts to the healing stage for people who are infected by the disease. They just need to let it pass by and wait for the blisters to be clustered over to avoid infections. But we can make their days less uncomfortable and painful by:

  • Applying itch-relieving lotion to their blisters – This may help ease the itchiness once in a while. This will also keep the skin moisturized to avoid unnecessary scratches and even more open wounds. But before buying any lotion from the pharmacy, please consult your doctor.
  • Give your baby plenty of rest – Your baby might fuss about the itchiness of the blisters when she is awake. So, it is okay if you let her rest for longer period of times so the pain and itchiness will subside. Just make sure that her feeding time will not be interrupted. She will need the nutrients all the more now that she is sick.
  • Keep your baby hydrated – This is important because being hydrated means allowing your body to function well. This allows your baby to regulate her body temperature and bowel movement, digest food properly, and more.
  • Let her enjoy an oatmeal bath – According to research, colloidal oats have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients that help soothe and ease the annoying itch from the blisters. It also moisturizes the skin to improve the skin condition of a person.
  • Pat her dry after bath – After a great oatmeal bath, just pat her dry. Do not rub the towel against her skin as this may trigger the itchiness. Use cotton or soft towel.
  • Adjust the room’s temperature - Make sure it’s not too cold or too hot for your baby. If it is too hot, your baby might develop heat rash and may complicate her current condition. If it is also too cold, this may cause dry skin and may be more irritable because of the chickenpox.
  • Do not bring your baby to public places - This might be risky to your baby and the people around especially those who haven’t been infected with chickenpox yet. It is safer for your baby to stay indoors to avoid further skin infections due to germs and the like.
  • Do not let anyone touch your baby - Especially because her skin is extra sensitive and itchy at this time. Remember that our hands are home of a million germs. Your baby can’t afford to be infested with more germs with her condition. This might lead to a serious skin infection if not avoided.

What does chickenpox look like?

The rash caused by chickenpox is nowhere near admirable. It’s dreadful! But you have to get over its disgusting characteristic especially if you or your baby is the one who has it.

The chickenpox rash has a few stages. It begins with tiny red bumps just like common rashes. After a few days, the small bumps become fluid-filled blisters. When these blisters break open, they leak and leave visible sores. Again, please do not be tempted to scratch too much. Chickenpox may last more or less than a week.

Related Questions

  • 1
    Are newborns immune to chickenpox?
    Newborns are immune to chickenpox given that their mothers have had chickenpox before. When you got infected with chickenpox and were over it, you develop an immunity to the virus. This immunity can be passed on to your baby after birth. But if the mother has not had chickenpox before, the baby won’t have immunity.
    You should know that immunities for newborns are just temporary and they start to drop after a month. Newborns, in rare cases, will experience mild chickenpox only if ever they get infected.
    That’s why it is highly suggested that you breastfeed your baby to provide antibodies that will help and protect her from these kinds of illnesses.
  • 2
    Is chickenpox dangerous in newborns?
    Fortunately, newborns are spared with the severity of this disease. If a newborn get infected with the chickenpox virus, it’s just mild. However, the mother still needs to be careful because this might lead to further complications if not given full attention.
    According to a survey, 1 out of 5 newborns can die because of chickenpox. There is no reason to let your guards down. If you know someone that has chickenpox, then, keep your baby away from him or her.
  • 3
    How can I strengthen my baby’s immune system?
    It would greatly help if you stay as healthy as you can during your pregnancy. And after giving birth, try your best to breastfeed your baby.

    Here are some ways to strengthen your baby’s immune system:
    Breastfeed your baby –
    this is the number one advice everyone would say to moms to protect their babies from diseases and give all the nutrients that they need.
    Entice her to eat fruits and vegetables –
    if your baby is old enough to chew on solid food, then, entice her to eat healthily. As they say, “train them while they’re young”.
    Encourage healthy sleeping habits –
    Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to a weaker immune system. This does not only apply to adults but to babies as well. In fact, babies need longer sleeping time than adults.

    If your baby won’t take naps during daytime, encourage her to sleep early during night time. A newborn may need to sleep up to 18 hours a day.

    Encourage exercise and playtime –
    Aside from educational toys, encourage your child to exercise while having fun. You can exercise as a family, too. “A family that exercises together, gets healthier together”.

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