By Baby Blogger Kate Richards
Unfortunately Ben was recently exposed to two of my nieces with chicken pox. They came down with it just an hour or so after we visited them. We had to wait for three weeks - the maximum incubation period - to see if he developed it. I was panicky when I found out, but that soon mellowed into a "nothing I can do, might as well chill out" frame of mind.
I kept him away from our baby groups, which gave me a lot of time to read up on the subject. Despite it being highly infectious, he seemed fine. The only thing that happened was after ten days, he had two really bad nights (crying even when being held) and a little rash that lasted about 12 hours, so that may have been a very mild version.
I'm really pleased Ben didn't get the pox, but in my just-in-case research I found it fascinating to read the wide variation in the online "facts", and hear the beliefs of people I spoke to. When my health visitor recommended "chamomile" lotion (meaning calamine), luckily I knew what she meant.
Lots of people thought I'd be at risk of shingles, but in fact it's not linked to re-exposure to the chicken pox virus. Rather frighteningly it can just crop up unannounced at any time.
A friend told me Ben would be immune because I've had chicken pox, which sadly isn't true, and lots of people said, "at least he'll get it over with while he's young". However, on further investigation, I found out that the immune system is still too undeveloped before a year old, so he could easily develop it a second time later on.
This goes to show how important it is to know where to find the most reliable medical advice.
Information from NHS Choices on chickenpox