Health Tip: Using an Antiviral for Chickenpox

-- Chickenpox is a viral infection that causes itchy, fluid-filled skin blisters. Usually affecting children, the infection typically runs its course and clears up without treatment.

Adults and teens, however, may be at risk of more severe symptoms and may benefit from an antiviral medication, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says. An antiviral is most beneficial if begun during the first 24 hours of the skin rash.

The agency mentions these additional facts about use of an antiviral medication in a person with chickenpox:

  • Healthy children who don't have severe symptoms probably don't need an antiviral medication.
  • Adolescents who take regular aspirin may need an antiviral.
  • People with skin or lung conditions, or those who have recently taken a steroidal medication, may benefit from an antiviral.
  • People who have been exposed to chickenpox -- but haven't contracted the infection -- may benefit from an antiviral.

Posted: August 2011


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