Chicken pox alerts schools and parents

By: Lakshmi Kothaneth

MUSCAT: Parents have been urged to detect any eruptions of rashes on their children and get immediate expert assistance, say doctors in the private sector. As schools continue conducting classes in summer, doctors are coming across more cases of chicken pox and occasional cases of Scarlet Fever symptoms. There have been symptoms of severe throat infections, fever, vomiting, constant slight temperature and light rash.

Many of the school principals have given strict instructions in their request to the private medical centres and hospitals to send back students after 10 to 15 days of sick leave if diagnosed with chicken pox. Dr Shibu Mohammed, dermatologist at Bader al Sama Hospital, has been coming across five to six cases of chicken poxes daily. “There were more cases in March. It is not a good idea to bring children to hospitals. There are also incidents were children taking rest after a couple of days venture out to shopping malls.

Shopping complexes are congested places and areas of concern when it comes to spreading of infection,” said Dr Shibu. The change of weather is considered as one of the main causes along with population travelling in and out.

“We have just treated four patients with chicken pox from one family. With another Omani family five children came with chicken pox and now the father is also being treated,” said Dr Dilip Singvi, physician at Apollo Medical Centre Muscat.

On the other hand there has been a shortage of anti-viral medicine in the private sector.

“The situation is better now. The medications are given for seven days. The virus cannot be killed but the viral activity can be reduced and this will help in controlling other infections. Children are prescribed with syrups. We also support the treatment with antibiotics because secondary bacterial infection is common,” added Dr Shibu. There is only 70 per cent of guarantee with a vaccination because bacteria and fungus can be killed but not the virus.

It is considered that children can tolerate chicken pox better than adults because complications are expected in older patients. They should immediately consult a doctor. In certain cases the same chicken pox virus that lies dormant can get reactivated and cause Herpes Zoster.

“I have been treating three to four cases of Herpes Zoster. People with low immunity and diabetes need to be alert because they are more prone to viral, urinary and skin infections,” added Dr Dilip.

There is a sudden increase in chicken pox, agree Dr Rohit Raghavan, ENT Surgeon at Life Line.

“Being in Darsait we are surrounded by schools. There is a need for awareness required by the parents. When they see the eruptions or rashes they need to take immediate action. Parents should also take a review of the children’s immunization card. If not taken it should be done,” pointed out

Dr Rohit.

Dr Rohit also said he has been coming across a few cases of scarlet fever. “Scarlet is self-limiting and it is a small area of rash accompanied by slight temperature.

In normal people it is all right but in the case of pregnant women it can cause complications such as sensory mural hearing loss,” explained the ENT surgeon.

Meanwhile Dr Shibu said we need to move from certain myths when it comes to chicken pox.

“It is safe to have daily bath. But one has to stay away from spicy and non-vegetarian food and that is because the vesicles can be present in the stomach too and hard to digest food can lead to other complications such as gastritis. Drink a lot of fluid. If the antiviral medicine is taken well in advance then the scars can be minimised,” said the Dermatologist.


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