Concerns about increase in chickenpox cases in Ireland
There has been an increase in hospitalisations this year.
The HSE has issued a warning to parents about an increase in chickenpox cases.
Doctors are concerned about the stark rise in cases, as well as a jump in hospitalisations.
They are urging parents to be aware of the symptoms and risks associated with the virus.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom is itchy red spots that can appear all over the body.
However, other symptoms include a loss of appetite and fever.
You may also suffer from general aches and pains.
Chickenpox mostly affects children under the age of 10, but anyone can catch the infectious disease.
There is no cure for the virus, but there are medications that help ease the pain. Doctors suggest using paracetamol. However, you should not use ibuprofen because it can increase the risk of skin infections.
The chickenpox virus often covers up within 2 weeks.
Cooling gels and ointments can help ease the itching. One of the best ones to use is calamine lotion.
Other ways to help ease symptoms include wearing cool clothes, staying hydrated as well as resting.
There is also a vaccine available for chickenpox. Anyone over 12 months can get the chickenpox vaccine, but it is not part of the routine childhood vaccination programme.
Doctors are understandably concerned about the increase in both cases and hospitalisations.
More children are needing hospital treatment, doctors confirmed.
Professor David Coughlan told The Sun that parents should be aware of the risks associated with chickenpox.
He said, "What many don’t realise, is that in some circumstances, chickenpox can become a very serious disease for young children, pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system."
He said that complications include lung infections, pneumonia, and skin infections.
Pregnant women and their unborn children are also at a greater risk of complications.
Immunocompromised people may also be at a greater risk.
"While incidences of risks are low among parents surveyed, the complications can be life-changing."
12 cases of chickenpox resulted in hospital treatment this year.