Call your family doctor if you or your child has signs and symptoms common to chickenpox. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
Information to gather in advance
- Pre-appointment restrictions. Ask if there are any restrictions you or your child should follow, such as staying isolated so as not to spread infection, in the time leading up to the appointment.
- Symptom history. Write down any symptoms you or your child has had, and for how long.
- Recent exposure to possible sources of infection. Try to remember if you or your child has been exposed to anyone who might have had chickenpox in the last few weeks.
- Key medical information. Include any other health problems and the names of any medications you or your child is taking.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Write down your questions so you can make the most of your time with your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor about chickenpox include:
- What is the most likely cause of these signs and symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- How soon before symptoms improve?
- Are there home remedies or self-care steps that could help relieve symptoms?
- Am I or is my child contagious? For how long?
- How do we reduce the risk of infecting others?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask:
- What signs and symptoms have you noticed, and when did they first appear?
- Has anyone else you know had signs and symptoms common to chickenpox within the last few weeks?
- Have you or your child had a chickenpox vaccine? How many doses?
- Are you or is your child being treated or have you recently been treated for other medical conditions?
- What medications are you or your child currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements?
- Is your child in school or child care?
- Are you pregnant or breast-feeding?
What you can do in the meantime
While you wait for your appointment, you may be able to reduce fever with ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Anyone recovering from chickenpox shouldn't take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in people recovering from chickenpox.
Rest as much as possible, and avoid contact with others. Chickenpox is highly contagious until skin lesions have fully crusted.
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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