Parents being reminded not to give their children ibuprofen for Chickenpox

Parents are being warned not to give ibuprofen to children with chickenpox [Photo: Getty]
Parents are being warned not to give ibuprofen to children with chickenpox [Photo: Getty]

Parents are being reminded not to use ibuprofen when treating their children for chickenpox.

With other childhood illnesses parents may often switch between giving paracetamol and ibuprofen to treat symptoms.

But many remain unaware of the risks of giving children ibuprofen when they are suffering from chicken pox.

While the painkiller and anti-inflammatory can be good for many minor ailments, it could cause serious complications with chickenpox

But a new warning on the Care Champions Facebook page, is offering a reminder to parents against using ibuprofen for chickenpox, advice which is also echoed by the NHS.

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The notice, which is from a previous reminder about not giving ibuprofen to children with chickenpox posted by Northern Ireland St John Antrim Facebook group, reads: “Chickenpox is going around again! Please remember NOT to give your children nurofen/ibuprofen if you think your child has it.

“This type of medicine is an anti-inflammatory. It reacts with the chickenpox making them go deeper into the skin tissue, potentially causing a more severe secondary infection.”

It goes on to list “better options” as:

  • Paracetamol for fever

  • Calamine lotion for the itch

  • Keep your child hydrated

The NHS website confirms the no-ibuprofen with chickenpox rule.

It explains that chickenpox is a common childhood infection, which is usually mild and complications rare, but goes on to list three don'ts of chickenpox:

  • do not use ibuprofen unless advised to do so by your doctor, as it may cause serious skin infections

  • do not give aspirin to children under 16

  • do not be around pregnant women, newborn babies and people with a weakened immune system, as it can be dangerous for them

St John’s Ambulance suggests giving children with chickenpox plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

They also advise giving the recommended dose of paracetamol for an adult or the recommended dose of paracetamol syrup for a child, but warn aspirin should not be given to anyone under the age of 16.

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Since sharing the post has received 1.8K comments and over 27K shares from others keen to spread the word about the risk.

There is a chickenpox vaccine available, but at the moment the jab is not part of the UK’s routine childhood vaccination schedule.

This means it is currently only available on the NHS for those who are at high risk of spreading the virus to particularly vulnerable people.

This includes those with weakened immune systems – as a result of HIV or treatments like chemotherapy – or non-immune healthcare workers.

Back in 2017, Superdrug became the first retailer on the British high street to offer a chickenpox vaccination.

But some parents believe chickenpox can be so unpleasant the vaccine should be available to all on the NHS.

Last year we revealed that chickenpox parties, once popular with parents in the 70s and 80s, have been seeing a revival, with some convinced they’re a great idea.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin recently made headlines after revealing to WKCT that he and his wife had purposely exposed their five biological and four adopted children to chickenpox.

“They got the chickenpox on purpose, because we found a neighbour that had it and I went and made sure every one of my kids was exposed to it, and they got it,” he said.

Parents in favour of pox parties believe that by ensuring that their kids got and then fought off the chickenpox when they were young, they wouldn’t catch it when they were older and less able to get over it.

But doctors warned that there is no way of telling how a child will react to the illness, with some experiencing more extreme side effects.

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