And chickenpox sure do itch! Here's why: After the red spots appear on your body, they fill up with a clear liquid. These liquid-filled blisters are called vesicles (say: VEH-sih-kulz). The vesicles release chemicals in your skin that excite the nerves that make you itch.
These nerves in the top layers of your skin tell the brain when something itches. They are the same nerves that get excited when you get a reaction to a mosquito bite. When these nerves are irritated, they send a message to your brain: "Something's on the skin! Get rid of it!" Your brain sends a message back to your hand and arm that says, "Scratch that itch!"
You may feel like the itching will never stop, but the good news is that after 3 to 4 days, you'll start feeling better. In a week or so, the vesicles will have formed scabs and you won't be as itchy anymore.
In the meantime, try your best not to scratch. Scratching may spread germs from your skin that could cause an infection. Cut your fingernails short so you won't hurt your skin if you do scratch. Also, wash your hands often during this time. Keep busy and you won't want to scratch as much. When you're not resting, read some books, play a board game, or watch a movie.
If your doctor recommends it, your mom or dad might help you apply some anti-itch cream or lotion. The doctor also might suggest you take a pill or liquid medicine to make you less itchy. These medicines can be especially helpful if you can't sleep because you're so busy scratching.
There's something else you could try if you're itching — oatmeal. And guess what? You don't eat it, you take a bath in it! Well, you don't exactly take a bath in a bowl of warm, gooey oatmeal, but your mom or dad can add some ground-up oatmeal or an oatmeal-based bath powder to the bath water. Ah, oatmeal. It's not just for breakfast anymore!
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph
Date reviewed: September 2012
|BrainPop This is a great site for kids with informational movies about science, anatomy, weather, and more.|
|Taking Care of Your Skin What does your skin ask for in return for all the wonderful things it does? Just a little care and consideration, so learn more about taking care of your skin by reading our article for kids.|
|Rashes: The Itchy Truth Learn about rashes in a flash. Check out our article just for kids!|
|Scabies Anyone can get scabies - little babies, adults, kids like you - the mites aren't picky. Read on to find out more about how to prevent these unwanted invaders!|
|Chickenpox Chickenpox is a virus that causes red, itchy bumps. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|A Kid's Guide to Shots If you're old enough to read this, you've probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.