Chickenpox treatment

Doctor examines a kid with chickenpox

Chickenpox is a highly-contagious viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The disease is viewed as a mild viral illness with occasional complications. It is common and highly-contagious, affecting nearly all children before adolescence.

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Chickenpox is usually a benign disease in children, and almost all children recover uneventfully. Even though many people think it is useless to treat it with antibiotics, sometimes it requires particular antiviral therapy. Chickenpox symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, rash, headache, weakness, and loss of appetite, cough, and sore throat. Itchy rashes and fevers are the typical symptoms of pediatric patients with varicella.

Even though vaccination made it much less threatening, varicella is not entirely benign even today. A significant number of varicella cases are associated with complications including pneumonia and encephalitis. The purpose of antiviral treatment is to reduce virus activity that manifests itself as painful and itchy blisters and lesions on the body.

Antiviral treatment is prescribed for severe cases of chickenpox in adults and adolescents to prevent the development of adverse complications. Doctors recommend Zovirax for the treatment of chickenpox. It is so safe and well-studied that it can be prescribed to small children.

Adolescents, adults, and pregnant patients are at an increased risk for complications. That’s why they are often treated with antivirals instead. Other patients requiring specific treatment are immune-deficient children, those who are otherwise at risk for severe disease, and those who already have a severe disease. Doctors recommend supportive measures, the administration of varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG), and the treatment of secondary bacterial infections.

After recovery, the virus remains in the body, hiding in the nerve ganglia. It can become activated under certain conditions, and then it once again appears on the surface of the skin and manifests itself in the form of shingles. Shingles may have a protracted nature, since it can take chronic and acute forms.

Neurological pain accompanies it, affecting general health. The virus can get reactivated when the immune system is compromised and weakened after a course of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or severe illnesses such as HIV.

Varicella Zoster is more dangerous for adults because there is a high risk of serious complications. It lasts longer; the temperature is higher; the painful rash is more common and causes more discomfort; and also the blisters take longer to heal.

Usually, chickenpox is not dangerous for children, and it passes in 7-9 days without any further complications. So it is not, therefore, recommended to treat chickenpox in children with any drugs including Zovirax. However, adults with chickenpox require antiviral treatment either way.

Acyclovir has the main component called Zovirax. It belongs to a group of acyclic nucleosides. It is prescribed for chickenpox because it is sufficiently safe, efficient and clinically tested.

Acyclovir has two advantages:

Initially, the drug was created to kill the herpes virus. Since the chickenpox virus belongs to the same group as herpes, it can be treated with Acyclovir too.
It suppresses the synthesis of the virus at the DNA level, blocking its replication. It significantly accelerates the time of recovery.

Acyclovir is prescribed for severe forms of the chickenpox that have the following symptoms:

watery painful rash on the body;
general weakness;
high temperature.

Zovirax is recommended for children with severe forms of chickenpox and with a high risk of complications. The doctors usually prescribe one or two tablets of Zovirax for three to five times a day depending on the condition of the patient. The doctor also determines the right dosage and duration of treatment. Usually, the course of therapy lasts up to 5 days.

Zovirax is recommended for adults and children older than two years. For younger children, a doctor should determine the dose. Depending on the severity of the disease, the course can be extended to ten days. In most severe cases of chickenpox, the patient is hospitalized, and acyclovir is administered intravenously.

Consult a doctor before taking Zovirax! The attending physician should determine the dosage. Zovirax is not recommended for breastfeeding women. However, it is safe for expectant mothers. Also, it is contraindicated in patients with an individual intolerance to its components.