How is chickenpox treated?


Quick Answer

Treatment options for chickenpox include antiviral medications for high-risk patients, antihistamines for itch relief and home remedies such as oatmeal or baking soda baths, according to Mayo Clinic. Chickenpox in otherwise healthy children normally requires no medical treatment and is allowed to run its course.

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Full Answer

Patients with a high risk of chickenpox complications may choose to take the antiviral drug acyclovir or immune globulin intravenous, which lessens the severity of the illness when administered within 24 hours of onset, confirms Mayo Clinic. Other antiviral medications, including famciclovir and valacyclovir, are only approved for adult use. Patients of all ages should never take aspirin during a case of chickenpox, as the combination may be related to the occurrence of Reye's syndrome. If secondary infections such as pneumonia or skin infections occur, antibiotics may be necessary.

To relieve itching, patients can try soaking in colloidal oatmeal baths or applying calamine lotion to affected areas, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trimming fingernails is also important, as excessive scratching of blisters can lead to infection. Other home remedies for chickenpox include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, a soft diet for sores in the mouth and baking soda added to a cool bath, adds Mayo Clinic. Parents should check with a doctor before giving antihistamines to children.

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