Chicken pox (varicella) is no longer a common childhood illness. A characteristic rash with small blisters or red bumps usually begin on the face, scalp and upper chest then spreads all over. Fever is commonly associated and should be treated with acetaminophen only, not aspirin or ibuprofen. Benadryl can be given to diminish itching and calamine lotion can be applied topically. Aveeno baths are also soothing.
Zovirax (acyclovir) is a medication that is available to slow the course of the illness. However, it is only available for children over the age of 2 years and MUST be started within the first 24 hours of lesions in order to be beneficial in slowing the disease process.
Varivax is a vaccine available for the prevention of chicken pox in children greater than 12 months and is a 2 dose schedule. The first dose is given at 15 months and the booster dose is given at the 4 year visit or anytime thereafter.
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