When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor right away if you or your child with chickenpox has:
- A severe headache or constant vomiting, sensitivity to bright light, or unusual sleepiness or confusion. These may be signs of inflammation of the brain (Reference encephalitis Opens New Window).
- Problems breathing or persistent coughing. These may be signs of Reference varicella pneumonia.
- Red, warm, and sore skin, or if the chickenpox rash changes to bigger open sores. These may be signs of serious skin infection.
Call for an appointment with your doctor if:
- You are older than age 12, you aren't sure if you have ever had chickenpox or the vaccine, and you have been exposed to chickenpox.
- You or your child has a Reference weak immune system Opens New Window and has been exposed to chickenpox.
- You are pregnant and have been exposed to chickenpox.
- You or your child has chickenpox and any of the following:
- A fever of more than 102°F (38.9°C) that lasts longer than 2 days
- Severe itching that cannot be relieved by home treatment
- Chickenpox rash on the eyeball
- A rash that lasts longer than 2 weeks
If you are a teen or adult, are pregnant, or have a weak immune system, it's important to see your doctor as soon as you think you've been exposed to the chickenpox virus. Your doctor may want to give you a medicine that helps protect you from the virus.
A healthy child with chickenpox symptoms may not need to visit a doctor. You may be able to describe your child's symptoms to the doctor over the phone. Then your child won't have to leave the house and risk spreading the virus to others. But it is important to check with your doctor to find out if he or she wants to see your child.
If you go to a doctor's office, ask if you need to take any precautions when you arrive to avoid spreading the infection. For example, office staff may take you directly to an exam room when you arrive, rather than have you wait in the lobby.
Who to see
The following health professionals can diagnose and treat chickenpox:
- Reference Family medicine physician Opens New Window
- Reference Pediatrician Opens New Window
- Reference Nurse practitioner Opens New Window
- Reference Physician assistant Opens New Window
- Reference Internal medicine doctor Opens New Window
If severe complications develop, you may be referred to a specialist. For example, you may see a Reference pulmonologist Opens New Window for lung problems.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|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