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, 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.
When you start planning your trip to India and sit down to make a to-do list, put "call doctor for vaccine appointment" at the top of the list. Then don't put it off.
According to the CDC, you need to start your immunizations at least four to six weeks before you plan to leave. That way the vaccines will have time to become effective. And you'll also be able to start taking preventive medicines for diseases that don't have vaccines, such as malaria.
Here's an overview of the vaccines you may need...
chickenpox, most people can get the
chickenpox vaccine(What is a PDF document?). To fully protect you, two doses are needed before you're exposed to the virus.
Some people can't get the chickenpox vaccine. They include women who are pregnant and people who have ever had an anaphylactic reaction to gelatin, neomycin, or any other substance in the vaccine.
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.2
Immunoglobulins.Immunoglobulins (IG) help the body's
immune system recognize and destroy harmful bacteria
and viruses in the body, such as the varicella virus. Pregnant women, newborns who are at high risk for getting chickenpox, and people who have certain immune system problems can get a shot of chickenpox IG soon after they are exposed to the virus. It can help prevent infection and help them feel better sooner.
Antiviral medicine.Antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir, is usually used to treat
adults and people who have
weak immune systems. 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
complications of chickenpox.
Medicines to relieve pain and discomfort
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 reduce 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
antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine) to relieve itching. 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
antibiotics to you or your child if you get a skin
infection from chickenpox blisters.