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Chickenpox (Varicella) - Topic Overview

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will examine you. This usually gives your doctor enough information to find out if you have chickenpox.

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.

Teenagers, adults, pregnant women, and people with health problems need to see a doctor for chickenpox. This is especially important for pregnant women, since chickenpox during pregnancy can cause birth defects or serious newborn infection.

Most healthy children and adults need only home treatment for chickenpox. Home treatment includes resting and taking medicines to reduce fever and itching. You also can soak in oatmeal baths to help with itching.

People with long-term diseases or other health problems may need more treatment for chickenpox. They may need immunoglobulin treatment (IG) or antiviral medicine. Your doctor can give you these soon after you are exposed to the virus to help you feel better sooner.

You can prevent chickenpox with the chickenpox vaccine. Children get the chickenpox vaccine as part of their routine immunizations.

If you have been around a person who has the virus and you have not had chickenpox or the vaccine, you still may be able to prevent the illness. Get a shot of chickenpox antibodies (immunoglobulin) or the vaccine right away.

Learning about chickenpox:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Taking care of yourself:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 23, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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