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Child had chicken pox. Skin infection cleared with antibiotic. Symptoms recurring, have reddening of skin

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my 20 week old baby got chickenpox when she was 15 weeks old, a week later she got a bacteria skin infection in her eczema which was cleared with antibiotics. we returned to the doctor last week with suspected return of skin infection plus signs of chickenpox reoccuring. we visited the A&E who prescribed steroid cream and antibiotic creams for effected area. what appeared to be the last of the chickenpox on the back of her head which hadn't appeared to have broken, now look very much like huge boils. i notice some of the lymph glands are still swelled on either side of her neck. Her ears both look waxy/crusty and while the eczema appears to be cleared up, appears to have a reddening of the skin on the side of her face towards her eye and over one eyelid. Her back, while up until now remained clear, is now very blotchy, lumpy / red. not sure what to do as suspect local doctor happy for me to visit my dermatologist as soon as appointment comes through...
Posted Wed, 3 Jul 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 12 minutes later

Thank you for asking this question on WWW.WWWW.WW I am Dr. Taher and having read your question, I have decided to take it up as I am a pediatrician.

First out, chickenpox is not a frequently recurring disease in infancy. In fact, it is highly unusual to get severe chickenpox in a baby of 5 months. Usually, in a normal infant, it is a mild disease that clears up in 3-4 days, or, at the most, within a week. One should see red boils and watery boils in different stages of evolution at the same time, and these are more on the trunk, behind the back, and on the chest rather than the back of the head or neck as your child seems to be having.

Thus, it is probable that either a) this is NOT chicken pox but some other problem or b) it is a relatively severe form of recurring chicken pox, which may indicate that your kid has some immune competence problem. As the second option is rare, I am going to assume that there is a wrongly diagnosed problem here, which could be any of the multiple causes of such a rash such as herpes, pemphigus, epidermolysis bullosa simplex or something else. An entity of a similar nature as the one your child is having can be caused even by a viral infection such as that caused by the Coxsackie virus or other enteroviruses.

What I suggest is that you take her to a pediatric dermatologist, seek a professional diagnosis and then take up the problem further. If you can, you may send me a follow-up query with a photo or two of the rashes that she has.

Thank you for your attention to this answer. I hope it addresses the concerns raised by you.

With best wishes for a great and quick recovery.

Dr. Taher
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child had chicken pox. Skin infection cleared with antibiotic. Symptoms recurring, have reddening of skin 9 minutes later
Dr Taher
Many thanks for your prompt reply.
I do believe that my little one did get chickenpox when she was 15 weeks old - it appeared on the head/scalp, trunk, arms and legs and they appeared through those stages within the week. However, you're right the 2nd diagnosis was hard to believe and it didn't appear to have lasted as long however the boils seem to be remaining on the back of the head longer and more protruding.
Unfortunately there is a demand to see a pediatric dermatologist privately and have to wait until september for my appointment. Is there anything i can do in the meantime?
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 34 minutes later
Since this is a paid question, let me again request you to send me a few pictures taken with a camera phone or a proper camera so that I can see the rash and take an informed call on this. If you are unable to do so, may I suggest that you apply a calamine lotion twice a day for a few days, and if that reduces the redness and irritability, you could try a mild steroid application. A preparation containing 1% hydrocortisone or clobetasone butyrate applied once at night may be tried for a week to see if it helps. This can work both ways, though. Most allergic and irritant rashes subside on steroids. Bacterial or fungal or even viral rashes may actually increase in intensity with steroids, so go slow. Try the steroid on one portion of the rash initially and not over the entire body distribution of the rash. If it works, you may increase the area of application to cover all the rashes.

At this point, I am unable to suggest anything more substantial than this.

Thank you for the rebound query and your kind words.

- Dr. Taher
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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