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What are the Different Methods of Chickenpox Treatment?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Chickenpox treatment can be discussed in different ways. Prevention of the virus through vaccination is the preferred way to handle this illness. Doctors can also recommend home care tips to decrease discomfort for those with mild to moderate symptoms. Additional medical steps might be suggested for those having a serious course of the disease. Chickenpox treatment also means treating for any complications like infection and avoiding anything that might place people at increased risk for other problems.

The varicella vaccination recommended as part of the immunization schedule of most children. Though many people who contract chickenpox have relatively minor illness, the disease can lead to complications, even including death, or very serious illness, in a small percentage of people. The varicella vaccination can protect against the virus being able to take root in the body, where it can then re-express itself as shingles in older adults. Most healthy people are able to get this vaccine and are thus spared deciding what to do for treatment after they have the illness.

Another chickenpox treatment is based on the vaccine. People with very recent exposure to chickenpox are sometimes retroactively protected with the vaccine. If someone who has never had chickenpox has just been exposed to someone who has the condition, doctors might recommend vaccination immediately. This may prevent an outbreak or lessen its severity.

Those people who do get varicella tend to have chickenpox treatment principally based on reducing discomfort. Fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but never aspirin for those under 21, might be recommended. Calamine lotion or soaks in oatmeal baths can help reduce itch, as might common antihistamines like diphenhydramine in cream or oral form. It’s recommended that people get plenty of rest and eat relatively plain foods to avoid upsetting the stomach.

Sometimes a course of chickenpox is severe or occurs in someone who has other illnesses that make him or her more vulnerable. Based on individual circumstances, doctors might decide that additional chickenpox treatment is needed. One intervention is antiviral drugs to work on reducing illness severity and duration. Medically vulnerable people and pregnant women should seek medical advice if they get this virus, as additional treatments including possible hospitalization could be recommended.

There are several complications of the varicella virus. Each of the pox runs the risk of becoming infected. As part of chickenpox treatment, doctors suggest inspecting the rash and speaking to a doctor if there is pus, or unusual warmth or tenderness. Antibiotics are used to cure infections.

Another chickenpox treatment advisory exists in the use of pain relievers or fever reducers. Combination of varicella-zoster virus and use of aspirin in people under the age of 21 is linked to the very serious and life-threatening Reyes Syndrome. This is why aspirin shouldn’t be given to kids with chickenpox, and why it’s avoided for treating children at most other times.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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