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Does the use of calamine or antihistamine provide symptomatic relief from pruritus in children with varicella zoster infection?
  1. Marc Tebruegge, Specialist Registrar1,
  2. Minju Kuruvilla, Specialist Registrar2,
  3. Isabel Margarson, Consultant Paediatrician3
  1. 1London Deanery, Department of Paediatrics, Southend University Hospital, Southend-on-Sea, UK;
  2. 2South-Eastern Deanery, Department of Paediatrics, Southend University Hospital
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics, Southend University Hospital

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A 2-year-old girl presents with chickenpox. The girl has typical vesicular lesions but has no evidence of complications on examination. Her mother reports that she is scratching continuously and has had very little sleep over the past few days as a result of the pruritus. Considering the therapeutic options, we wonder whether there is any evidence to support the use of either calamine lotion or antihistamines to alleviate pruritus in varicella zoster infection.

Structured clinical question

In a child with varicella zoster infection [patient], can calamine lotion or antihistamines [interventions] reduce pruritus [outcome]?

Search strategy and outcome

Cochrane Library using “varicella and calamine”, “varicella and antihistamine”, “chickenpox and anitihistamine” and “chickenpox and calamine”: no relevant results.

PubMed (no limits set) using the search terms given above. The search produced the same results irrespective of whether “chickenpox” or “varicella” was used. …

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  • Bob Phillips