To help ease the symptoms of an uncomplicated case of chickenpox, follow these self-care measures.
Scratching can cause scarring, slow healing and increase the risk that the sores will become infected. If your child can't stop scratching:
- Put gloves on his or her hands, especially at night
- Trim his or her fingernails
Relieve the itch and other symptoms
The chickenpox rash can be very itchy, and broken vesicles sometimes sting. These discomforts, along with fever, headache and fatigue, can make anyone miserable. For relief, try:
- A cool bath with added baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal — a finely ground oatmeal that is made for soaking.
- Calamine lotion dabbed on the spots.
- A soft, bland diet if chickenpox sores develop in the mouth.
- Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) for itching. Check with your doctor to make sure your child can safely take antihistamines.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) for a mild fever.
Don't give aspirin to anyone with chickenpox because it can lead to a serious condition called Reye's syndrome. And don't treat a high fever without consulting your doctor.
March 26, 2013
- Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/about/overview.html. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Policy statement — Prevention of varicella: Update of recommendations for use of quadrivalent and monovalent varicella vaccines in children. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2011-1968. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Pregnancy complications. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/complications_chickenpox.html. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Chickenpox. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/infectious_diseases/herpesviruses/chickenpox.html. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Health Information for International Travel. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press; 2012. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/varicella-chickenpox.htm. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
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