The common, early chickenpox symptoms (also chicken pox symptoms) is a headache, fever, and general feeling of illness. This begins typically 10-21 days following exposure and infection.
A characteristic rash of small, red spots typically will form 24-48 hours following the initial chicken pox symptoms, usually beginning on the trunk and face.
Chicken pox is the result of infection with the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes shingles. It typically infects the majority of children and is an airborne contagious virus.
The spots gradually can spread to the arms and legs and form itchy, raised blisters over a period of 7-8 hours.
Spots typically stop forming and spreading 5 days following the initial symptoms. They typically last anywhere from 1-3 weeks.
More serious infections may occur if the blisters become infected, or if the chickenpox virus infects the lungs, heart, or brain.
- loss of appetite
- general feeling of illness
- itchy rash of small, round, red dots
- dots eventually form blisters
- mouth sores cause pain when swallowing
- joint pain (if joints become infected)
Diagnosis is fairly obvious during a physical examination, however, laboratory blood testing can be used as confirmation.
Vaccination programs have proven moderately effective in preventing the disease. Isolation and quarantine of infected individuals also helps prevent the spread of infection.
Treatment is typically through the relief of symptoms, most notably itchiness. More severe infections may require early treatment with antiviral drugs.