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Coping with the Chicken Pox

· Essential Oils,parenting,skincare

Most people in the UK get the chicken pox when they're babies or toddlers, usually from someone at their nursery school.

Despite repeated exposure, my kids didn't get it. Eventually I decided they must have some kind of natural immunity. I'd never heard of that happening before, but my mother in law couldn't remember my husband getting it, so maybe it was possible?

I was wrong.

My nine year old daughter got chicken pox a few weeks ago and it was NASTY. She felt pretty unwell in the beginning, but despite having blisters everywhere - even in her eyes(!) - she powered through with little complaint.

We made up a 'pox potion' together in a rollerball to help with her itching. It had Frankincense, Melaleuca, Geranium, Lavender, Melissa and Yarrow|Pom, and whenever she felt the compulsion to itch, she used her rollerball instead. I picked some of these oils based on their skin soothing properties and some because they were listed in the droplii app (a community resource I buy for all my customers to share recipes etc...) as being useful in this illness.

The beauty of this roller was two fold 1) the oils may help her symptoms/healing and 2) it gave her something physical to do when she had the compulsion to itch. We made a game of avoiding the blisters and drawing lines in between them (Yarrow|Pom gives this blend a lovely blue colour, which is always fun).

We also made up a baking soda, Frankincense and Geranium powder which we added to some porridge in a muslin and used to make soothing baths.

Once the blisters had dried up and were in the healing phase, we used the soothing skin salve we made at January's make and take, which had the perfect consistency with beeswax and shea butter, along with healing oils like frankincense, helichrysum and myrrh, to create a wax 'shield' over the scabs which made them less itchy, but also stopped them catching on clothes.

I was pretty sure I had become a chicken pox nursing expert... until my 12 year old son came down with it two weeks later.

Although they are both on the autistic spectrum, his sensory issues are a little more severe than my daughters, and boy did he suffer more. Not only was his fever sustained for a lot longer, but he was still getting new blisters almost nine days after they started. The blisters in his mouth and throat meant that he struggled to swallow and couldn't eat for days.

Being that he is more sensory averse, he wouldn't allow anyone to touch him, and refused to touch his own skin, so there was no pox potion going to happen. Even bathing hurt his skin.

After a couple of days with no sleep (yes, seriously, he struggles with insomnia under the best of conditions) and him being seriously overtired and distressed, I decided to give him some Serenity Restful Blend capsules and some Adaptiv Calming Blend capsules on the basis that it might help him to at least fall asleep.

What was interesting, is that whilst he didn't fall asleep for another six hours, he did calm down enough to be able to communicate with me what was going on. What his fears were, what was hurting and where (I hadn't realised how bad the blisters in his mouth and throat were yet) and let me coax him into taking a bath with some bentonite clay, frankincense, rose and lavender.

This was a lightbulb moment for me.

So often, when a child is ill, it's easy to get caught up in trying to find the magic bullet, that one oil that would fix that specific illness. But that's the role of allopathic medicine. Holistic therapies are all about the individual, and using oils to support my son's mental and emotional state, and aid his communication, were far more effective at reducing his trauma and helping him through this unpleasant experience.

Which was more important? Potentially fighting a virus that would eventually run it's course anyway, or helping him through a difficult situation with the least amount of distress possible?
You could argue that both were important, but to my mind the second should have been my priority, rather than an after thought.

Yes, he'll may end up with a few scars because he's refusing help with managing his skin and it's healing, but I'll take that any day over the emotional scars that disconnection and fear could have left him with.

We're nine days in and he's finally happy, if bored, even though his skin is still covered in lesions and blisters that he won't let me help with, but I asked him today what he's grateful for (a little daily ritual we've developed) and he said 'I'm glad I got the chicken pox because we've spent loads of time, just you and me'.

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