Due to the fact that the airborne illness known as chicken pox presents as small red, itchy spots, it can be easily confused for flea bites. The reverse is also true. It can take some time to determine which, if either, is the cause of the discomfort, however, doing so as quickly as possible can help you take care of it.
Begin by treating the symptoms. There is no need for your child to suffer while you try to determine the cause. Cool baths, calamine lotion, and Benadryl cream can help to alleviate the itchy nature of either problem.
Once the itch is temporarily under control, begin to assess your home and any other areas that you or the child frequent. Has there been an outbreak of chicken pox in your area recently? Has your child had the condition before? Was he or she vaccinated against the illness? If there is no reason to suspect chicken pox, then consider the likelihood of fleas. Has your pet been itching recently? Have you noticed fleas when bathing the animal? Has your child been around other animals that might be infested?
If you still aren’t sure, then continue to monitor the rash closely. The changes that come will provide a lot of insight into the cause of it. Chickenpox spots will eventually blister and break open. This will create small scabs. That is not the case with flea bites, which will continue to look like small hives. Furthermore, Chickenpox is generally associated with a fever, an upset stomach, and headaches.
Treating the Rash
Chickenpox is a very contagious illness that can severely impact children and older adults (who are more likely to have it present as shingles). For that reason, children or adults who have been diagnosed with it should remain at home until all of the sores have blistered over (a sign that the contagious stage has passed). Though there is no cure, there are things that can be done to deal with the symptoms. Tylenol can help cut a fever and alleviate headaches. Ginger and peppermint have been shown to help with upset stomachs, and the itchy spots can continue to be treated with the cool baths and anti-itch creams.
Flea bites, on the other hand, point to a larger, underlying problem. They are likely to continue appearing, unless the fleas are dealt with. Fleas can be difficult to get rid of, but there are products on the market to help kill them off. Keeping animals and the home as clean as possible can help, and if the problem becomes too large, pest control specialists can be called in to rid the home of the unwanted visitors.