Chicken Pox While Breastfeeding – Treatment and Precautionary Tips

chicken pox while breastfeeding

As a mother, your chief concern is rightfully the perfect health of your baby. But what happens when you contract a disease that is frightfully common among not just moms but everyone? Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus, and while it mostly happens during childhood, it can be seen in adults, and especially concerns breastfeeding women as it is very contagious.

What are the Common Signs of Chicken Pox in a Breastfeeding Mother?

There are some signs that can indicate that a new mom has contracted the disease.

1. Rash

This is a very common symptom. Rashes appear as small pigmentations and then grow in size, to blister and then develop into a scab.

2. Body Ache

Your whole body, including the head, will begin aching a few days before the rashes appear.

3. Fever

You will develop low fever overtime, signifying that it is time for a medical opinion.

4. A General Feeling of Illness

Lack of energy, tiredness and an overall feeling of coming down with a viral illness will indicate the disease.

symptoms of chicken pox

How to Diagnose Chicken Pox?

Chickenpox usually does not need to be diagnosed with special tests. Doctors most often take a look at the rashes and declare whether you have chicken pox or not. In some cases, depending on the severity of the case and its special nature (if a woman is pregnant) the doctor may recommend a blood test for the virus.

How to Treat Chicken Pox While Nursing?

The best way to treat chicken pox while breastfeeding is, of course, to follow the instructions of your physician. Also, a dependable source of relief for itchy rashes can be found in Calamine lotions, which you can safely apply on your body.

Over-the-counter relief medicines may work for most kids and adults, but it is best to stick to the remedies suggested by your doctor, considering that your breast milk is providing nutrition to a child at this time too.

Most doctors will also prescribe antihistamines that will reduce the effects of itching rashes. While they may fall short of the needs, it is best to stick to them while nursing.

About Chicken Pox Vaccine While Breastfeeding

Studies have found that when a new mother is vaccinated post-partum, there is neither evidence of varicella virus in a new mother’s breast milk nor is there a transmission of the virus to infants in such a case. On the whole, doctors encourage physicians to identify women vulnerable to the virus during pregnancy and ensure their vaccination after giving birth. It is, therefore, completely safe to go for vaccination while nursing.

chicken pox vaccine

Do You Have to Stop Breastfeeding When You Have Chicken Pox?

Contrary to popular assumption, women who have chickenpox do not have chicken pox virus in their breast milk. In fact, breast milk that has the necessary antibodies that can protect a baby from contracting chicken pox.

While it is not possible to transfer the varicella vaccine during breastfeeding, the contagious nature of the disease makes it imperative for you to visit a doctor when you come down with the pox because your baby could have been exposed to it too.

Doctors overwhelmingly say that mothers who have fallen ill with chicken pox can safely breastfeed their child as they did during healthier times. However, it is necessary to cover any rashes or vesicles on the breast caused by the disease, to minimise any risk of transmitting it.

However, medical attention must be paid, should the symptoms of the disease appear in a very new mother, fewer than two days after the delivery of the baby.

Self-care Tips to Follow While Breastfeeding With Chicken Pox

The constant itching from the rashes can prove to be an exhausting distraction. In addition to prescribed medicines, you can try to alleviate the discomfort by using one of the following home remedies.

  • Take frequent baths with finely ground oatmeal. They help reduce the frequency of itches.
  • Mix warm water with baking soda, dip a piece of cloth into it and dab onto severely blistering rashes so that they dry quickly.
  • Take plenty of rest and do not exert yourself to make sure you recover fast.

Chickenpox in breastfeeding mothers is neither a cause for extreme concern, nor does it require a big shift in the mother and child’s daily breastfeeding routine. With the right treatment, a nursing mother can look forward to breastfeeding her child through the time she is down with the disease.

Also Read:

Is Breastfeeding Safe during Hepatitis
Hives during Breastfeeding
Headache While Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?