Tips for preventing skin infections from chickenpox

Scratching chickenpox blisters can lead to skin infections, not to mention scarring. In rare cases, infected chickenpox lesions can lead to toxic shock syndrome.

To keep children from scratching chickenpox blisters:

  • Clean and closely trim your child's fingernails.
  • Have a small child wear mittens or clean cotton socks on his or her hands to prevent scratching, or use light bandages over open blisters.
  • Wash your child's hands often.
  • Distract your child when you find him or her scratching.

To help prevent irritation of chickenpox blisters:

  • Use loose-fitting cotton clothing.
  • Change clothes and bedsheets daily.
  • Use a household cleaner such as Lysol or Pine-Sol to wash any items that are soiled with fluid from chickenpox blisters.
  • Bathe daily with a soothing, mild soap that contains ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera, or lavender. Look for soaps that are made for sensitive skin or are recommended for babies. You can also try a soap that contains oatmeal or an antibacterial soap such as Phisohex.
  • Use a mild laundry detergent if clothes or linens seem to be irritating the skin.

Last Updated: March 3, 2008

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