There is no cure for chickenpox, and the virus usually clears up by itself without any treatment.
However, there are ways of easing the itch and discomfort, and there are important steps you can take to stop chickenpox spreading.
Aciclovir is an antiviral medicine that is sometimes given to people with chickenpox.
Aciclovir may be prescribed to:
Ideally, aciclovir needs to be started within 24 hours of the rash appearing. It does not cure chickenpox, but it makes the symptoms less severe. You normally need to take the medicine as tablets 5 times a day for 7 days.
If you are taking aciclovir, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Side effects are rare, but can include nausea and diarrhoea.
Immunoglobulin is a solution of antibodies that is taken from healthy donors. Varicella-zoster immunoglobulin (VZIG) contains antibodies to the chickenpox virus.
Immunoglobulin treatment is given by injection. It is not used to treat chickenpox, but to protect people who are at high risk of developing a severe chickenpox infection. This includes:
In the case of pregnant women, immunoglobulin treatment also reduces the risk of the unborn baby becoming infected.
As the supply of VZIG is limited, it will only be considered if a high-risk person has:
In some cases, newborn babies may be given immunoglobulin treatment without having a blood test first.