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Antihistamines can be taken by mouth or applied directly to the skin. Talk to your doctor before using any antihistamine lotions or creams on yourself or your child. And check with your child's doctor before giving antihistamine pills to your child.
Antihistamines block histamines—chemicals that cause itching and other responses to allergic substances.
Antihistamines can reduce itching and scratching from chickenpox (varicella) blisters. Scratching of blisters can cause skin infection and scars. Some skin infections can be serious.
Antihistamines taken by mouth may help prevent you or your child from scratching the rash and blisters, especially during sleep.
Side effects of antihistamines include:
In very rare cases, antihistamines may cause a person to see and hear things that are not there (hallucinations), have tremors, or go into a coma.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Some experts believe that the chemical histamine is not responsible for the itching of chickenpox and that the sedating effect of antihistamines is really what helps the itching.
Some antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can be purchased without a prescription. If you use them, carefully follow the directions on the label. Antihistamines are not recommended for children younger than 6 years. Check with your child's doctor before you give them to your child. Antihistamines have side effects that can cover up signs of serious complications of chickenpox. Some of these side effects include feeling sleepy and having hallucinations.
Avoid using antihistamines that are applied directly to the skin. You may accidentally apply too much medicine, which can be harmful.
Last Revised: May 26, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.