Chicken pox FAQ

Because of the association of Reye's Syndrome and aspirin use during chicken pox, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, etc.) should be the only medication used to treat fever during this illness. Be sure and use the cheapest brand of acetaminophen and give the proper dose for the age and weight of your child. A common cause of acetaminophen "not working" is the dose given is the same that was given to the child several months previously. If your child has grown a lot, the proper dose will have changed as well.

There are a number of home remedies that may be tried. One of the more helpful things is to give the child oatmeal baths. The oatmeal can be quite a pain to clean from the tub, but may give your child significant relief. The oatmeal can be used directly off the grocery shelf or commercial brands may be purchased such as Aveeno. Remember, baths do not spread the infection to other parts of the skin. Wet compresses with cool wash cloths may help as well. Be sure to cut the child's fingernails to reduce the risk of the child damaging the skin significantly and leaving it open for infection. Calamine lotion is often used as well to ease the itch. Medications such as diphenhydramine (Benedryl) may also help with the itching although the side-effects of sleepiness or, more uncommonly, agitation may occur. However, this medication should not be given to children under two years of age before speaking with your physician. Other prescription medications such as hydroxyzine (Atarax) for itching can be prescribed by your doctor.

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