Methods Used to Control the Spread of the Disease
A virus causes chickenpox, so the doctor won't prescribe antibiotics. However, antibiotics may be required if the sores become infected by bacteria. This is pretty common among kids because they often scratch and pick at the blisters.
The antiviral medicine acyclovir may be prescribed for people with chickenpox who are at risk for complications. The drug, which can make the infection less severe, must be given within the first 24 hours after the rash appears. Acyclovir can have significant side effects, so it is only given when necessary. Your doctor can tell you if the medication is right for your child.
• Using cool wet compresses or giving baths in cool or lukewarm water every 3 to 4 hours for the first few days. Oatmeal baths, available at the supermarket or pharmacy, can help to relieve itching. (Baths do not spread chickenpox.)
• Patting (not rubbing) the body dry.
• Putting calamine lotion on itchy areas (but don't use it on the face, especially near the eyes).
• Giving your child foods that are cold, soft, and bland because chickenpox in the mouth may make drinking or eating difficult. Avoid feeding your child anything highly acidic or especially salty, like orange juice or pretzels.
• Asking your doctor or pharmacist about pain-relieving creams to apply to sores in the genital area.
• Giving your child acetaminophen regularly to help relieve pain if your child has mouth blisters.
• Asking the doctor about using over-the-counter medication for itching.
If you didn't as a child, you're at greater risk of a more virulent adult form of the disease that can lead to hepatitis, pneumonia, or heart failure, warns Dragan Djordjevic, MD, a Chicago-based physician at MDVIP, a national concierge health care company. If you did, you're more likely to suffer an outbreak of shingles later in life, a painful illness also caused by varicella zoster, the virus that causes chickenpox. Fortunately, both the