Chickenpox is a viral infection that usually heals naturally in a person with a healthy immune system. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the physical discomforts of the infection and prevent complications.
Drugs And Medications To Treat Chickenpox
Although anti-viral medications cannot cure chickenpox, but doctors often prescribe these medications to chickenpox patients to reduce the severity of the infection and accelerate recovery. However, healthy children and adults rarely need anti-viral medications.
They are usually recommended for people with weak immunity. Acyclovir is an effective anti-viral medication for chicken pox. It is safe for children. It suppresses growth and multiplication of the chicken pox virus. Chickenpox patients on acyclovir should drink plenty of water. Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and dizziness are some side effects of the anti-viral drug.
This anti-viral medication is recommended only for adults. It shortens the duration of the infection. Stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and headache are some side effects associated with valacyclovir intake.
Famciclovir is another anti-viral medication that can reduce the severity of chickenpox. However, it should be given to children. Diarrhea, nausea and headache are common side effects of this drug.
Oral antihistamines are usually recommended for alleviating severe itching in chickenpox patients. Hydroxyzine and diphenhydramine are common antihistamines that are safe for children. Itching is an allergic reaction that occurs when the body secretes histamine.
By suppressing the activities of histamine, the oral antihistamines reduce itching and prevent chickenpox patients from scratching the chickenpox blisters, thereby minimizing the risk of developing skin infections and scars.
However, some health experts suggest that the sedative effect of antihistamines primarily prevents a chickenpox patient from experiencing the itching. Drowsiness, restlessness and irritability are common side effects of antihistamines. In few cases, these medications may cause difficulty in urination, abdominal pain, vision changes and dryness in the mouth, nose and throat. Rarely antihistamines cause hallucinations.
The fever and body pain in chickenpox patients can be treated with acetaminophen or paracetamol. It is usually available over-the-counter and is safe for patients of all ages. Children should be given acetaminophen medication created specifically for children. Itching, rash, breathing or swallowing problems and swelling of the throat, face, lips, hands and feet are some rare side effects of acetaminophen.
Fever and body pain can also be controlled with ibuprofen. Chickenpox patients should not take more than four non-prescription ibuprofen medications each day. In some cases, ibuprofen may cause side effects such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation, dizziness and tinnitus.
To prevent complications in chickenpox patients with impaired immune systems, immunoglobulins may be used for reducing the severity of the infection. Usually immunoglobulins are injected within four days after exposure to the varicella virus. They help the immune system to identify and destroy the varicella viruses in the body. If you receive the immunoglobulin injection at the earliest stage of the infection before the rash appears, you will experience mild symptoms of the illness.
If the chickenpox blisters are infected, antibiotics may be needed for treating the infection.