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Can chickenpox be treated?
Chickenpox symptoms can be controlled with soothing baths or antihistamines to decrease itching. Acetaminophen may help control fever, headache, or muscle pain. Do not give aspirin to children with chickenpox, because this can increase the child's risk of Reye syndrome.
An antiviral drug can be used to treat the symptoms of chickenpox in persons older than age 2. The drug should help reduce the severity of chickenpox symptoms, especially in older children and teenagers, if taken within 24 hours of the rash's first appearance.
A vaccine to prevent chickenpox is available for children over age 1 who have not previously had the disease.
Chickenpox can be a very severe in patients who have weakened immune systems, such as persons with cancer and who have had an organ transplant. High risk people should be treated with antiviral drugs if they have been exposed to chicken pox and are not immune, or if they become sick with chickenpox. For detailed information, see the article on chickenpox.
Myers MG, Seward JF, LaRussa PS. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 250.
Grose C. Varicella (chickenpox). In: Rakel P, Bope ET, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy 2008. 60th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 18.
Review Date: 2/2/2007
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.