Calamine lotion has a “soothing, cooling effect” on the skin, the NHS noted, which can help alleviate the discomfort felt from a chickenpox infection – especially for small children who are most likely to get the infection for the very first time. One Twitter user tweeted: “FYI, parents I would advise you stock up on calamine lotion wherever you can find it from now.” They added: “Apparently there’s a massive chickenpox outbreak and, at the manufacturer level, there is a shortage of Calamine lotion.
“We spent two days searching for some in various pharmacies/supermarkets.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “We now have chickenpox spreading like wildfire, and a shortage of calamine lotion.”
Another posted: “The amount of parents and grandparents that have asked me for Calamine lotion and chicken pox mouse [sic] stuff. The shortage is annoying.”
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What is chickenpox?
The varicella-zoster virus is the cause of chickenpox, which leads to red, itchy spots across the body.
The NHS added that the rash eventually turns into fluid-filled blisters that then crust over to form a scab.
Children presenting physical warning signs of chickenpox should be kept off nursery or school until all the spots have crusted over.
Professor Andrew Pollard, from the University of Oxford, explained: “Individuals are infectious from one day before the onset of the rash until the spots have crusted over.”
One such treatment method recommended by the NHS, aside from calamine lotion, is to take painkillers.
Painkillers can help to reduce any painful sensation while helping to bring down a high temperature.
Paracetamol is the “preferred painkiller”, as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) pose a risk of an adverse skin reaction while a person has chickenpox.
Hydration is also key and, for youngsters who have the uncomfortable lesions inside of the mouth, then sugar-free ice lollies are recommended.
A DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) spokesperson said: “We are aware suppliers of calamine lotion are currently experiencing supply constraints, which should be resolved by the end of June.
“We want to reassure patients that there are a range of alternative products available and if they have any concerns, they should speak to their pharmacist or prescriber.”
As for chickenpox cases, offical government data reports that there has not been an increase in the number of chickenpox cases compared to baseline figures.