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Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox

Chickenpox was once a common viral illness that affected almost all children.  Today, thanks to the chickenpox vaccine, the incidence of chickenpox is down dramatically.  Chickenpox is not serious for most people.  It can however cause problems for pregnant women, newborns, and adults with immune system dysfunctions.  We have listed the common signs and symptoms of chickenpox below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox include:

  • Chickenpox spots on the face, scalp, back and chest
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry cough
  • Pain in both ears
  • Swollen face

The first symptoms of chickenpox are often fever, a headache and sore throat.  Next, raised pink or red bumps that look like insect bites appear in different areas of the body.  The red raised bumps form fluid-filled blisters over them, which then break and crust over.  New red raised bumps appear over the course of several days, so it can take about a week to ten days for all of the blisters to crust over.  Children can go back to school once all of the blisters have crusted over.

The signs and symptoms of chickenpox affect mostly school-aged children.  It is rare in preschoolers.  Chickenpox is extremely contagious and affects 90% of people in close contact.  In adults, the reactivation of the chickenpox virus causes shingles.

Diagnosis of Chickenpox

A diagnosis of chickenpox is made by a doctor after examining the rash and noting all of the accompanying symptoms.  If further confirmation is needed, a blood sample may be taken to test for an immunologic response.

Books for Parents of Children With Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox

Have Chickenpox
Jean Adamson
Chickenpox, Yuck! (Takeaway Series)
Josie Montano

Chickenpox (Head-to-Toe Health)
Elaine Landau
Chickenpox – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
Health Publica Icon Health Publications

Chickenpox Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine info for parents, public, and health care professionals.

  • Kids Health . org

Article for parents, children and teens.

  • MD Junction

Chicken Pox Forums. Discussions, Q&A and friends dealing with Chicken Pox.

  • Med Help

MedHelp’s Chickenpox Center for Information, symptoms, resources, treatments and tools for chickenpox.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment, prevention of this once common childhood illness.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.

  • Web MD

Comprehensive overview of chickenpox, including causes, symptoms and when to call a doctor.