Smallpox is a fatal viral disease that haunted human civilization since ancient times. From the era of Egyptian civilization, Small pox eradicated millions of people from the earth. The first ever vaccine for smallpox was invented in 1758. However, it took two centuries more to eradicate the menace from the planet. Owing to stringent vaccination worldwide, the disease was eventually eliminated from the Earth by 1980.
Causes of Smallpox
Smallpox, caused by a virus named variola, can infect kids and adults and it is extremely contagious. It is not similar to chickenpox-which is triggered by a separate virus and is milder in nature. Smallpox causes pus-filled blisters to erupt all over the body.
There are 2 major variants of the virus that leads to Smallpox- Variola Major and Variola Minor. While symptoms of both variants are similar, the former is severe and has a higher mortality rate. Two rare but fatal form of smallpox is hemorrhagic and malignant. They can lead to death in most instances.
How Smallpox is Spread?
For both adults and kids, smallpox can be really contagious. Saliva and cough are 2 major routes of infection. It can also spread from close contact from an infected person. Sharing infected person’s clothing can also be another way for the virus to spread. Scientists think the virus can be alive for 24 hours under the right situations. The disease lasts for a span of 5 weeks on an average.
Symptoms of Smallpox in Kids
As it is, the symptoms of smallpox in kids are similar to those in adults. The symptoms appear after 2 weeks of infection, in general. This is called the incubation period. In that phase, an infected baby may not show any sign of infection. However, after that the skin lesions start appearing. These become puss filled blisters gradually and affect all parts of the baby’s body, literally.
Other symptoms of smallpox are:
Proper medical diagnosis is required to identify symptoms and the blisters are different from those caused by chicken pox.
Treatment Options For Smallpox Affected Kids
Nowadays, children are not administered vaccination for smallpox, mainly for two reasons. The disease has been declared as nonexistent by WHO several decades back. Besides, administering the vaccine can lead to severe side effects in some cases. Incidentally, once someone gets the vaccine his body develops immunity towards various viral infections.
While no cure or remedy for smallpox is available till date, scientists are trying to develop a suitable cure. In some rare cases, antibiotics can be given to deal with the infection. If a kid is infected with the virus causing smallpox, he or she should be kept in isolation. The kid may be given the vaccine and when given at an early stage of infection, the severity may be reduced.
Home Remedies For Kids with Smallpox
Since there is no remedy for this viral ailment, you can try to control the symptoms and pain caused by the disease in a kid. For kids, coping up with the itching and pain caused by numerous skin blisters and fatigue can be quite tedious, as it is. Below listed are a handful of natural remedies that can be used to mitigate small pox symptoms and pain in toddlers.
- Neem– Neem is known as a natural antiseptic agent. It is used extensively to treat skin rashes of various types. Crushed neem leaves can be used to make a paste and this can be applied on the scabs when they are drying. It can help mitigate the skin irritation.
- Red Sandalwood- Paste of red sandalwood can be applied to the small pox blisters. This helps prevent itching to an extent.
- Poppy Seeds- Applying poppy seed paste can be helpful in cooling the skin. Consuming the paste can also be beneficial.
- Scar removal– The scabs caused by small pox virus gets hardened and they fall off from the skin surface. They leave behind blackish scar marks. Applying natural extracts like lemon juice, tomato and cucumber juice can help. These may help fade the scar marks on the skin upon regular application.