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To go to the supermarket with a chicken pocked son

(47 Posts)
innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 12:55:42

Okay, okay, this should be in Child Health or something but I kind of need to know and no one really goes over there from what I can see.

Ds is 20 months. We first noticed the pox last Wednesday but I wasn't sure that was what it was, it was a little broken blister on his shoulder. I spotted some red marks on his scalp under his hair the following day but still didn't put two and two together until Friday when he was covered in blisters. This is despite the fact that of the 75 kids on roll at his nursery, 57 have had chicken pox over the last two months so hmm to me and my stupidity, but I didn't really recognise the signs and, quite frankly, expected that he would act vaguely ill at some point, which he hasn't.

Anyway, I'm not really sure when house arrest ends. All the blisters have burst etc but some are more scabby than others, and everything I read says "when they have crusted over". What counts as crust? confused Does it have to be really scabby or does it count when the blister has burst and there is a scab in the middle?

Is today day 5 (counting from Friday) or do I count from Wednesday or is it 5 days after the last new blisters (Sunday)?

Sorry. I am normally a sensible person who can read but I just can't make sense of this chicken pox malarkey. I could really do with taking a trip to the supermarket for provisions....

belledechocchipcookie Tue 16-Aug-11 12:59:44

A crust is the scab. They need to burst completely and scab over completely because the virus is inside the fluid. He's safe to go out when there's no more fluid filled spots, they all need to scab over.

Can you order food online so you don't have to go out??

Humpletumple Tue 16-Aug-11 13:03:06

Oooh run and hide. Chicken pox is infectious through close contact and most cases are of course spread before people even know you have it but still hordes of angry mumsntters will be along shortly to tell you that you must remain under house arrest when you have CP and even walking your child to school could endanger somebody.........

Blatherskite Tue 16-Aug-11 13:04:03

YABU to take him if you're not sure. You don't know how vulnerable the other shoppers might be and you could make someone very ill if he's still contagious

Now would be a good time to try online shopping. Do it today and you could have food tomorrow morning.

cjbartlett Tue 16-Aug-11 13:05:13

Online shopping definitely

Blatherskite Tue 16-Aug-11 13:06:24

It's a good excuse for (delivered) Pizza tonight too wink

Humpletumple Tue 16-Aug-11 13:06:54

Chicken pox is endemic in the community. If you are vulnerable to it and you go out in public you put yourself at risk. The OP's behaviour - whatever it is will make very little difference to the universal risk present.

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 13:08:55

Blatherskite, I am not sure so I am asking. I don't know because I can't work out the rules of infectiousness. I can't be 100% sure because I am not entirely sure what is meant by "crust".

As far as I can see, some are scabbier than others but I don't see any fluid/blistery stuff. Some have fat scabs, some have skinny scabs. Some have scabs edge to edge, some seem flatter, with a fatter scab in the middle.

belledechocchipcookie Tue 16-Aug-11 13:18:51

If in doubt, don't take him out. Order online, he'll be grumpy and itchy regardless and the supermarket isn't the best place for a sick child.

GrownUpNow Tue 16-Aug-11 13:21:25

When DD got ill with a infectious disease, I stick her in the buggy and put the raincover on for the school run. Maybe an option if you are worried.

CustardCake Tue 16-Aug-11 13:22:59

Humpletumple - the reason quarantine exists for CP is because for those who are vulnerable, it can kill them which is a slightly more inconvenient than an adult being copped up at home for 7 days with a bored toddler once in their entire lifetime per child.

Do you seriously suppose the answer is to tell vulnerable people to stay at home forever so that people with active chickenpox don't have to spend the week staying indoors, shopping online or relying on partners / friends to do chores that rely on going out in public?

OP - if the spots are dried out then you are fine to go out. They don’t need to be scabby as such, just dry. It is not just the fluid in the spots that carries the virus though, it is also saliva and that's why CP is spread by touch AS WELL as being airborne and that's why its so contagious.

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 13:24:31

Sorry does anyone actually KNOW the answer though?

I am going to be in doubt anyway. He is not acting sick and hasn't acted sick or itched since this thing started. I just want to know if anyone actually has the FACTS about the infectious period here in a way that makes more sense to me than what I am reading online.

1. How scabby does a pock mark have to be?
2. 5 days after... the first mark, the last fluid filled blister emerging or when all the scabs are gone?

Thanks.

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 13:25:14

Sorry, x post there - thank you Custardcake, that's what I want to know.. they are dried out, there is no fluid that I can see in any of them.

Humpletumple Tue 16-Aug-11 13:27:33

Oh thank you for pointing that out custardcake. Never mind that I've forgotten more than you will most likely ever know about the effects of CP on the immunosuppressed.

My point is that keeping spotty children away from others does not greatly reduce the level of risk in the population. CP is endemic and will remain so till we vaccinate. If you are very vulnerable to it then all you can do is keep away from people. There is no other way to protect yourself.

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 13:32:07

Why don't we vaccinate? Don't get me wrong, I have been (touch wood) really pleased that this has been so mild as I had (like most first-time parents) been dreading its arrival.. but I do know that it can have serious consequences and as I was out with ds a) before we even saw the spots and b) when we saw spots but didn't know what they were, it seems like it is a bit unstoppable.. 57 out of 75 have had it at nursery, how many more people who were at risk will they have been in contact with before they realised they were contagious? I don't really understand why it isn't vaccinated against if it's potentially lethal.

I thought that if you were immunocompromised they offered you the vaccine? I was offered it as a healthcare worker as I had never had it as a child.

wonkylegs Tue 16-Aug-11 13:37:56

There is no way to protect yourself but if people like the OP can try to avoid passing it on in public places all the better. Let's just say I am aware that going out in public is a risk to my health but reasonably I also expect those who can avoid passing on infectious diseases to me that may kill me would do there best not to.
I worry about the stuff I can control (my DS is vaccinated against CP for my benefit ) but I will also educated those who are unsure to up my chances of getting infected by every Tom Dick or Harry
OP please read this for clarification www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chickenpox/Pages/Prevention.

wonkylegs Tue 16-Aug-11 13:41:22

You can't have the vaccine yourself if you are immunocompromised as its a live vaccine, which would put you in danger therefore defeating the object of having it. But you can give it to those around you to avoid coming in contact with it

MonkeyJungleConga Tue 16-Aug-11 13:48:49

These threads always do my head in because there's always some genius who comes out with the classic "If you are very vulnerable to it then all you can do is keep away from people" stance.

If you, like me, have had to endure months and months of chemotherapy and are immunocompromised for that time then it is totally unreasonable to hide away like some leper. It simply cannot be done and is an issue of quality of life whilst facing chronic illness, not a week stuck at home when Tesco can deliver all necessities to get you through the immense trauma of it all.

Even if you are immunocmpromised you can still develop shingles, despite having immunity from CP, which is very painful indeed and there are some very nasty complications (e.g. encephalitis which is a pretty unpleasant brain infection) that can occur in those who have a reduced immune system. It's serious stuff.

OP - if in any doubt at all stay inside. You can't tell who has cancer / HIV / heart conditions etc just by looking at them and, contrary to the opinion of those who think we can stay indoors for the rest of our lives / illnesses, you can't take the risk.

I hope your sone is better soon. CP is horrible.

MonkeyJungleConga Tue 16-Aug-11 13:50:01

*son. Sorry.

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 13:54:01

I am in doubt because I can't get clarification about the scabs!

I am really, really sorry for anyone who is immunocompromised. I was when I was younger and I appreciate how crap it is and how worrying it is etc.. however, my doubt is because I can't get consistent advice about the infectious period and what is meant by "crusting over" ... flight policy says 7 days after last spot appears (ryanair), NHS seems to say 5 - 6 days after first spot and when others "crusted" over etc, my husband said 5 days after last spot was what he was told at work etc.

I really think if it's going to be putting others at risk the advice should be clearer. It's fine to say "if in doubt..." etc but I am in doubt because the advice is inconsistent and unclear. I have no problem staying in IF he is infectious but staying in just because the advice isn't clear as to whether or not he is infectious is a different matter entirely.

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 14:12:44

Wonkylegs, thanks for the link.

I hadn't even considered travel... and I was supposed to go on holiday on Friday but I assumed it would be fine as he had first spots last Wednesday and last spots on Sunday...

BUT

According to Ryanair's travel policy, I need a fitness to travel certificate saying it has been 7 days since the last spot arrived! Just called my doctor and they told me that they can't give me one until they have seen him... they can't backdate it either..

I deliberately kept him away from the surgery as I knew that an uncomplicated case of chicken pox had no place showing up in a surgery but now it seems this will mean that a fitness to travel certificate is delayed.. and so, although we should be okay to travel from Sunday, we won't be able to travel until next Weds at the earliest so it's not even likely we can change flights.

Crap. What a pile of poo.. but I would rather not take chances with anyone else's health so I'll put up with it. Still rubbish though!

MonkeyJungleConga Tue 16-Aug-11 14:23:37

What a nightmare - I agree that it is so hard to define these guidelines. Maybe a private GP could help with a travel certificate? Expensive, but is likely to be less than having to book another flight.

vanfurgston Tue 16-Aug-11 15:50:31

chickenpox is serious stuff if your child comes into contact with a non immune adult or an immunocompromised person. dont put other people at risk. the guidelines r there to protect every1

innishvickallaune Tue 16-Aug-11 15:53:19

Yes, and they are not very clear. Your post doesn't really make them clearer, vanfurgston.

oldmum42 Tue 16-Aug-11 17:52:26

No one is saying that CP kids should just go out and infect everyone..... but kids with CP are not the "source" of the infection that keeps it going from year to year, it's ADULTS with Shingles who do that, they act as a bridge between the generations (ie grandma infects grandchild who then infects all his classmates). ADULTS are the source of outbreaks, and milder cases of shingles may go unnoticed (sometimes it can be a very small patch, which may be mistaken for an allergy of insect bites), but if the Adult scratches this, and touches someone who's never had CP, they can catch it. That is what HUMPLE TUMPLE is meaning - this virus will just keep doing the rounds what ever the OP does, and a child with CP is a lot easier to spot than the 80 year old who's leaning over to touch your newborn with the finger that 5 mins ago was scratching that "funny little rash" on her arm!

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