What to Do if Your Child Has Chickenpox

From Drugs.com - January 8, 2018

What to Do if Your Child Has Chickenpox

MONDAY, Jan. 8, 2017 -- Have a child with chickenpox? Do not despair. There are a number of things you can do to care for a child with this disease.

"For most healthy children, chickenpox clears on its own without treatment," said Dr. Sheila Fallon Friedlander, a professor of pediatrics and dermatology at the University of California, San Diego.

However, chickenpox is highly contagious. That makes it important to keep your child at home or limit contact with other people, Friedlander said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. This should be the case until all the chickenpox blisters have formed scabs, which usually takes a week, and there are no new blisters.

To relieve itchiness, she suggests giving your child baths with colloidal oatmeal. You can get this at drugstores. Add the oatmeal under the faucet while filling the tub with lukewarm -- not hot -- water.

After bathing, apply a topical ointment. Good options include calamine lotion, petroleum jelly or a fragrance-free, anti-itch lotion that contains pramoxine or menthol and camphor. Do not use over-the-counter topical antibiotics because they can cause an allergic reaction, Friedlander said.

Another option for relieving itchiness is an over-the-counter oral antihistamine for children. Follow the label directions and be sure to use the correct dose, she said.

To relieve fever, use non-aspirin medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Do not use aspirin or products that contain aspirin. Aspirin use in children with chickenpox has been linked with a severe condition -- Reye's syndrome -- that affects the liver and brain and can cause death, Friedlander said.

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