Medicines for chickenpox can:
- Prevent chickenpox by making you Reference immune Opens New Window to it.
- Help make chickenpox less severe after you are exposed or have symptoms.
- Help relieve chickenpox itch, pain, and fever.
If you (or your child) are not immune to chickenpox and have been exposed to the virus, Reference call your doctor. The right medicine depends on your health, age, how long it's been since you were exposed to the virus, and your symptoms.
Vaccination to prevent chickenpox
Some people can't get the chickenpox vaccine. They include women who are pregnant and people who have ever had a serious allergic reaction to gelatin or the drug neomycin.
Medicines to help reduce the severity of chickenpox
- Chickenpox vaccine. If you are exposed to chickenpox and you get the vaccine within 3 days, you may not get sick, or your illness may be mild. If you can't get the shot within 3 days, getting it up to 5 days after exposure may still help.Reference 2
- Immunoglobulins. Reference Immunoglobulins (IG) Opens New Window help the body's Reference immune system Opens New Window recognize and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body, such as the varicella virus. People with long-term diseases or other health problems can get a shot of chickenpox IG soon after they are exposed to the virus to help them feel better sooner. Pregnant women or people who have certain immune system problems can also get a shot of IG to help prevent infections.
- Antiviral medicine. Reference Antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir, is usually used to treat adults and people who have Reference weak immune systems Opens New Window. It's used after you start to have symptoms of chickenpox. Healthy children usually don't need this medicine when they have chickenpox. It isn't known whether antiviral medicines reduce a person's chances of having Reference complications of chickenpox.
Medicines to relieve pain and discomfort
After you have symptoms of chickenpox, you can take over-the-counter medicines to help relieve discomfort. Check with your child's doctor before giving medicine to your child.
- Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) to control pain and fever. Follow the package instructions carefully. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. People over age 20 also can take aspirin to reduce fever. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20, because of the risk of Reference Reye syndrome Opens New Window.
- Oral Reference antihistamines to relieve itching, such as Benadryl or Vistaril. Talk to your doctor before using any antihistamine lotions or creams on yourself or your child. And check with your child's doctor before giving antihistamine pills to your child.
- Your doctor may prescribe Reference antibiotics Opens New Window to you or your child if you get a skin infection from chickenpox blisters.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics