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.
children 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
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 early pregnancy can cause
birth defects. Call first to make an appointment and to discuss whether you
need to take any steps to avoid spreading the virus when you arrive. For
example, office staff may take you straight to an exam room, rather than have
you wait in the lobby.
How is it treated?
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.
How can you prevent chickenpox?
You can prevent chickenpox by getting the
chickenpox vaccine. Doctors recommend two
doses of this shot for healthy children 12 months of age and older who have not
had chickenpox. Older children and adults who have not had chickenpox and have
not yet had the vaccine also need two doses.
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 or the vaccine right away.
In rare cases,
people who have had the vaccine still get chickenpox. And a few people who have
already had chickenpox get it again. If this happens, a milder form of the
illness usually occurs, with fewer blisters and symptoms. This is called a
Do not expose your child to chickenpox on
purpose. Some parents expose their children to chickenpox because they think it
is safer for children to have the illness when they are young. But this isn't a
good idea, because even young children can have serious problems from
Frequently Asked Questions