Do not give your child any product that contains aspirin. A child or teenager who has the symptoms of any viral disease, including chickenpox, should never be given aspirin, because the combination of aspirin and viral disease has been linked to the development of Reye's syndrome, a dangerous complication.
When to Call the Doctor about Chickenpox
If your child develops vaginal or rectal lesions, or bad sores in his mouth, call your physician.
If your child develops a fever consistently over 102°F, an earache, a very painful sore throat, a persistent cough, and/or increased difficulty breathing, seek your doctor's advice. It is possible for a child with chickenpox to develop such complications as an ear infection, strep throat, or pneumonia. If your child seems to be developing any of these conditions, seek medical attention.
The antihistamine diphenhydramine (found in Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) can help relieve the awful itching a child with chickenpox experiences. Benadryl is available in pill form as well as in a spray. The pill form is generally more effective at relieving the itching of chickenpox. An antihistamine can also help an uncomfortable child to fall asleep.
Viscous Xylocaine is a local anesthetic that can be used as a mouth rinse to decrease pain and itching in the mouth. This rinse numbs mucous membranes, making it more comfortable for a child with mouth sores to eat, drink, or brush his teeth. This is a prescription drug, and it must be used in small quantities because of its potential toxicity.
Burow's solution is a powder available over the counter at most drug stores. Mixed with water and applied as a soak, it is very effective at drying up weeping sores.
Calamine lotion can help to relieve itching and dry weeping sores.
Acyclovir (Zovirax) is a drug that has some effectiveness against the chickenpox virus. However, it is very expensive and shortens the course of the illness by only a few days. It is therefore used primarily in severe cases that occur in children with disorders that impair immune system function, such as leukemia.
Offer plenty of fluids so that your child stays well hydrated.
Prepare a simple, clean, whole-foods diet. Include easily digested foods high in vitamins and minerals, such as soups, well-cooked whole grains, and vegetables.
If your child has lost his appetite and is not eating well, try tempting him with diluted fruit juices, herbal teas, and soups. Frozen fruit-juice popsicles are usually well received.
For age-appropriate dosages of nutritional supplements, see
Dosage Guidelines for Herbs and Nutritional Supplements.