Chickenpox (chicken pox) is a contagious childhood disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Symptoms have an incubation period of 14 to 16 days and include a couple days of mild fever, weakness, and red, raised rash that progresses to blisters that eventually burst and crust over. Complications include bacterial infection of the open sores, scarring, encephalitis, nerve palsies, and Reye's syndrome. Read more: Chickenpox (Varicella) Article
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IMAGESSee a picture of chicken pox and other viral skin conditions See Images
Related Disease Conditions
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Swollen Lymph Nodes (Glands)
Lymph nodes help the body's immune system fight infections. Causes of swollen lymph nodes (glands) may include infection (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasites). Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes vary greatly, but may include fever, night sweats, toothache, sore throat, or weight loss. Causes of swollen lymph nodes also vary, but may include cancer, the common cold, mono, chickenox, HIV, and herpes. The treatment of swollen lymph nodes depends upon the cause.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles symptoms and signs include skin burning, numbness, and tingling along with a painful red, blistering rash. Shingles is contagious until all of the blisters have crusted over.
Microcephaly is a genetic condition where the circumference of the head is smaller than normal due to underdeveloped brain. Microcephaly is caused by genetic abnormalities, abuse of alcohol or drugs, infection (for example, Zika virus, German measles, or chickenpox), exposure to toxins, or PKU while the mother is pregnant. Symptoms of microcephaly depend upon the severity of the accompanying syndrome. There is no treatment for microcephaly.
Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious disease that's caused by a virus. Symptoms include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Treatment focuses on symptom relief. The disease can be prevented with the measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine (MMRV).
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a painful complication of shingles. Symptoms include severe pain, itchy skin, and possible weakness or paralysis of the area. There is no treatment for postherpetic neuralgia that is effective for all patients.
Are Skin Rashes Contagious?
Direct and indirect contact can spread some types of rashes from person to person. Rash treatment depends upon a rash's underlying cause. A rash that sheds large amounts of skin warrants urgent medical attention. Rashes can be either contagious or noncontagious. Noncontagious rashes include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, psoriasis, nummular eczema, drug eruptions, hives, heat rash (miliaria), and diaper rash. Rashes usually considered contagious include molluscum contagiosum (viral), impetigo (bacterial), herpes (herpes simplex, types 1 and 2 viruses), rash caused by Neisseria meningitides (N. meningitides) (bacterial), rash and blisters that accompany shingles (herpes zoster virus), ringworm (fungal) infections (tinea), scabies (itch mite), chickenpox (viral), measles and rubella (viral), erythema infectiosum (viral), pityriasis rosea (viral), cellulitis and erysipelas (bacterial), lymphangitis (bacterial, and folliculitis (bacterial).
Herpes Viral Infections of the Eye
Herpes of the eye occurs due to herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). Symptoms of herpes of the eye include pain in and around the eye, rash or sores on the eyelids, redness, swelling, and cloudiness of the cornea.
Shingles and Pregnancy
Becoming infected with chickenpox during pregnancy could cause birth defects in your unborn child. Likewise, shingles could also cause problems for your unborn child. If you are pregnant and haven't had chickenpox, avoid exposure to infected people. Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, can reduce the incidence of shingles by half. Women should wait at least three months after receiving the vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
Children's health is focused on the well-being of children from conception through adolescence. There are many aspects of children's health, including growth and development, illnesses, injuries, behavior, mental illness, family health, and community health.
Is Chickenpox Contagious?
Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. Chickenpox symptoms and signs include a blistering, itchy rash, fatigue, fever, and tiredness. Chickenpox is transmitted via contaminated droplets produced during sneezing or coughing and by coming in contact with blister fluid.
Reye's syndrome (RS or Reye syndrome) is a sudden, sometimes fatal, disease of the brain with degeneration of the liver. Reye syndrome is associated with giving children medications containing aspirin. Symptoms include vomiting, listlessness, irritability or combativeness, confusion, delirium, delusions, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. Treatment depends on early diagnosis and focuses on protecting the brain against irreversible damage by reducing brain swelling, reversing the metabolic injury, preventing complications in the lungs, and anticipating cardiac arrest.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Chickenpox FAQs
- Chickenpox Vaccine for My Child?
- Neonatal Sepsis (Sepsis Neonatorum)
- Children: Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician
- Home Remedies for Shingles
- Shingles Pain
- What Are the Facts on Chicken Pox?
- Should Adults Get a Chicken Pox Vaccine?
- Is Reye Syndrome Less Common than It Used to Be?
- Why Is It Called Reye's Syndrome?
- Can the Chicken Pox Vaccine Cause Shingles?
Medications & Supplements
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- Valtrex (valacyclovir)
- diphenhydramine, Benadryl
- Calamine Lotion (calamine and zinc oxide)
- acyclovir, Zovirax
- Over-the-Counter Products
- varicella virus vaccine (chickenpox) - injection, Varivax
- famciclovir, Famvir
- Shingles Vaccine (Zoster Shingles Vaccine Live, Zostavax)
Prevention & Wellness
- Health Tip: Preventing and Treating Chickenpox
- Chickenpox Vaccine Shields Kids From Shingles, Too
- Kentucky Teen Who Refused Chickenpox Vaccination Now Has Chickenpox
- Vaccine-Exempt Students Behind N.C. Chickenpox Outbreak
- Health Tip: Know the Risks of Chicken Pox
- Hundreds of Human, Pet Homeopathy Products Recalled
- What to Do if Your Child Has Chickenpox
- Health Tip: Identifying Chicken Pox
- Health Tip: One of Three Adults Gets Shingles
- Just a Few Vaccine Refusers Could Endanger Many
- Is Shingles Tied to Heart, Stroke Risk?
- Shingles Vaccine Cuts Chronic Pain, Hospitalizations
- Tips for Avoiding Back-to-School Germs, Illnesses
- Experimental Shingles Vaccine Looks Quite Effective: Study
- Chickenpox Cases Down 85 Percent Since 2-Dose Vaccine Started: CDC
- Day Care Babies Catch Stomach Bugs Earlier, But Get Fewer Later
- Two-Dose Chickenpox Shot Gets the Job Done, Study Shows
- Health Tip: Chickenpox Can Be Dangerous
- Chickenpox, Shingles Vaccines Linked to Rare Eye Inflammation
- What You Need to Know When Your Child Gets a Rash
- Despite Pockets of Resistance, Most U.S. Kids Getting Vaccinated
- Health Tip: Coping With Chickenpox
- Vaccine Sharply Curbs Chickenpox Cases in U.S.
- Doctors Worry About Return of Vaccine-Preventable Ills in Kids
- Anti-Vaccine Parents Cluster in Rich, White Areas
- Viruses Increasingly Behind Child Pneumonia Cases
- Vaccine Opponents Often Cluster in Communities
- 'Kids' Diseases' Now Hitting Adults
- Virus Present at Birth Causes More Than 10 Percent of Hearing-Loss Cases in Kids
- Most Kindergartners Are Getting Their Shots: CDC
- Most U.S. Babies Get Their Vaccines: CDC
- Infections Like Colds, Chickenpox Tied to Some Stroke Risk in Kids
- Younger Adults Who've Had Shingles May Face Higher Stroke Risk
- Chickenpox Vaccine Not Responsible for Rise in Shingles, Study Says
- Why Many U.S. Preteens Aren't Getting the HPV Shot
- Children Benefit From Early Dose of Measles Vaccine, Study Finds
- Second Dose of Vaccine Cuts Chickenpox Cases Even More, Study Finds
- Scientists Say Pressure Allows Herpes Viruses to Infect Cells
- Atlanta Women Offers Hope for Those With Psoriasis
- Health Tip: Chickenpox May Lead to Complications
- Whooping Cough Cases Rise as Parents Opt Out of Vaccine
- Parents Who Veto Vaccinations Often Seek Like-Minded Opinions
- Teen's Death From Chickenpox Highlights Need for Vaccination, CDC Reports
- Few U.S. Seniors Take Advantage of Shingles Vaccine
- Chickenpox Shot Provides Long-Term Protection, Study Finds
- Untreated Depression May Cut Shingles Vaccine Effectiveness
- Too Few Adults Get Recommended Vaccines: CDC
- Varizig Approved to Treat Chickenpox Symptoms
- Health Tip: Some Shouldn't Get a Chickenpox Vaccine
- More Kids Opting Out of School-Required Vaccinations: Study
- Shingles Not Linked to Increased Cancer Risk, Study States
- Are Kindergarten Kids Getting Their Vaccines?
- Vaccinations Belong on Parents' Back-to-School Checklists
- Chickenpox Cases Fall 80% Over Decade: CDC
- Little Short-Term Risk of Repeat Bout of Shingles, Study Finds
- Shingles Vaccine Deemed Safe in Large Study
- No Rise in Seizure Risk With MMRV Booster Vaccine
- Health Highlights: Dec. 20, 2011
- Chickenpox Vaccination of Children Helps Protect Infants, Too
- U.S. Sets New Goals for a Healthier Nation
- Survey: Younger Doctors More Skeptical of Vaccines
- Health Tip: Getting the Shingles Vaccine
- CDC: Vaccination Rates for Toddlers Rising
- Report: Vaccines Generally Safe, Cause Few Health Problems
- Vaccination Rate for Kindergarten Kids Is Over 90%
- FDA: Shingles Vaccine OK at Age 50 and Up
- Seizure Risk Rises With MMRV Vaccine
- Health Tip: Managing Chickenpox Discomfort
- Shot Protects Against Chickenpox After Exposure
- Vaccine Refusal Raises Chickenpox Risk
- Health Tip: Calming Chickenpox