The truth about ibuprofen in chicken pox

The truth about ibuprofen in chicken pox

You may have seen this a lot in the press lately but is it just scaremongering?

I used to work in a pharmacy before I started Ashleigh Money Saver as my full time job, so after some careful digging through all my old training manuals and trusted medical websites I can bring you an informed article about the risks of using Ibuprofen in chickenpox.

You may have seen a viral Facebook post lately from a mother who is warning other parents about using Ibuprofen when their child has chickenpox.

Hayley Lyons, put photos of the reaction her son Lewis had to the anti-inflammatory drug Ibuprofen on Facebook and her post has been shared over 350,000 times.


Hayley posted: ­“Chickenpox is going round again. Can I please remind people not to give your children Nurofen/ibuprofen. Four different doctors from our hospital (out of hours) prescribed it for Lewis as we couldn’t get his temp down. They even administered it to him in A&E. This type of medicine is an anti-inflammatory. It reacts with chickenpox. The doctors from our hospital kept sending him home saying it was ‘just chicken pox’. He ended up with septicaemia and was admitted to Alder Hey as soon as we arrived there. Only because we persevered and took Lewis to a children’s hospital off our own backs was he OK. This could have ended up so much worse if it wasn’t for those doctors at Alder Hey and their advice, care and knowledge. Only use Calpol for their temps. It does actually state on the Nurofen website not to take this medicine with chickenpox. But when our doctors prescribe it, who are we to question it?”


The chances of this happening to your child after taking Ibuprofen when they have chickenpox is very rare, you’re looking at 1 in 10,000. However, I wouldn’t like to risk my child being the 1 in 10,000.

NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines now recommend that Ibuprofen in no longer used for chickenpox.

If your child has chicken pox here is what you should do…

  • If your child has pain or a high temperature give them paracetamol suspension. You can get own brand paracetamol from every pharmacy and it is much cheaper than Calpol even though the ingredients are exactly the same.
  • Do not give Ibuprofen as there is a small chance of skin reactions.
  • Keep your child hydrated. They may not feel like drinking, especially if they have an irritated mouth because of chicken pox. You could try giving your child a sugar free ice lolly which while help keep them hydrated whilst soothing their mouth.
  • Don’t let them scratch, it will make their skin more uncomfortable and could lead to scaring. During the night you could try putting a thin pair of socks on their hands. Calamine lotion is also great as it has a cooling soothing effect on the skin – dab it on rather than rubbing it in for better results.
  • Chlorphenamine is a stronger option if all else fails. It is an antihistamine which helps relieve the itching. This can make your child a little sleepy which may be useful if they are struggling to sleep with the itching.
  • If non of the above helps then visit your local pharmacy where they can give you more help and advice or sign post you to you GP or nearest walk-in centre if needed.

The truth about ibuprofen in chicken pox

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