Chicken pox is a condition caused by an infection by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), one of the herpes viruses that affects humans. It's a common childhood virus, although a person can become infected for the first time at any age. Helping chicken pox sores heal more quickly involves a combination of mostly in-home and over-the-counter remedies and, if deemed appropriate by a doctor, the administration of drugs that specifically target the varicella zoster virus.
Things You'll Need
- Oatmeal bath
- Topical medications and pain relievers
- Antiviral medications as prescribed by a doctor
Use oatmeal baths to relieve the discomfort and itching from the rash, according to MedlinePlus. This can help make the rash less irritating, decreasing the urge to scratch the rash (which can slow down healing time).
Apply calamine lotion or other topical anti-itch creams according to the manufacturer's directions. Antihistamines can also help relieve itching, promoting healing.
Keep fingernails short while the chicken pox rash is active, since some scratching is inevitable. According to MedlinePlus, scratching the rash can sometimes lead to sores becoming infected and can also lead to scarring.
Cover your hands to make scratching the chicken pox rash more difficult. You can cover your hands with soft, clean mittens or socks. Make sure the surface of the covering is not rough so that it doesn't further irritate the rash.
Use over-the-counter pain relievers. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid complications such as liver damage. According to MedlinePlus, the best pain reliever for chicken pox is acetaminophen. Aspirin should not be used by anyone, no matter what age, during a bout with chicken pox, as this can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as Reye's Syndrome; ibuprofen use may contribute to secondary infections.
Take antiviral medications as directed by your doctor. It's important to begin these types of medications within the first day of the appearance of the chicken pox rash so that they can have an effect on symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. MedlinePlus reports that people most likely to be given antiviral medication for chicken pox include those who have skin and lung conditions, those who have recently been on steroids, and people who routinely take aspirin.
Tips & Warnings
- Remind children that although scratching temporarily relieves the itching, it can't take the itching feeling away and may make them sick for a longer period of time.
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