Most healthy children, teens, and
chickenpox need only home treatment. But
all teens and adults with chickenpox need to see a doctor. When given right away, treatment can help prevent serious complications.
If you have chickenpox, you don't need to stay in bed. But it's best to
stay quiet and rest. Over-the-counter medicines can help relieve symptoms such as
fever and itching.
Before you give medicine to your sick child, check with your
child's doctor. Because of their small size, children are more sensitive than
adults to the effects of some medicines. Use a measuring spoon or medicine cup
to give liquid medicine to a child. Don't guess the amount or use a regular
The chickenpox rash itches. Do what you can to control the itch and avoid scratching. Scratching the blisters may
cause a skin infection, or scars may form after the blisters heal.
You can take
control itching, such as taking oatmeal baths, applying cool compresses, and
antihistamines. Check with your child's
doctor before giving your child antihistamines.
- Chickenpox: Controlling the Itch
Fever is your body's normal response to infection. A
higher-than-normal temperature kills bacteria and viruses that cause illness.
Fever medicines stop this natural process, so use one only when fever is causing discomfort.
You can help
relieve a fever with over-the-counter medicine. Follow the package instructions carefully. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. (Do not give aspirin to people younger than 20, because of the risk of
Reye syndrome, a rare but serious problem).
Call your doctor if you or your child has a fever that lasts longer than 24 hours.
For more information, see Fever or Chills, Age 11 and Younger or Fever or Chills, Age 12 and Older.
Prevent the spread of infection
If you or your
child has chickenpox, don't return to work, school, or day care until after all
blisters have crusted over, usually about 10 days after the first symptoms
start. To help
prevent spreading chickenpox, stay away from people
who aren't immune.