Chickenpox: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Risks
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Chickenpox: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Risks

Chickenpox is a common viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster. It causes itchy rashes with small, fluid-filled blisters over the skin. The disease is highly contagious to people who have not had the disease or been vaccinated against it. Today, the vaccine against chickenpox is available that protects children against the infection.

The chickenpox vaccine is an effective and safe way to prevent chickenpox infection and its further complications.

What Are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?

The itchy blister rashes caused by chickenpox infection develop ten to twenty days after being exposed to the virus and usually lasts for about five to ten days. The most common signs and symptoms, which may appear, include:

  • Developing a red skin rash that is severely itchy and irritable
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dry cough and sore throat
  • Headache
  • Tiredness and a feeling of being unwell (malaise)

One or two days after experiencing these symptoms, the classic red skin rash will begin to develop. The rash is usually severely itchy and irritable. It often forms on the face, scalp, chest, back, and, to a lesser extent, on the arms and legs. The rash goes through three phases before an individual recovers. These phases are as follows:

  1. The infected person will develop red or pink bumps all over the body.
  2. The bumps transformed into blisters filled with fluid.
  3. The bumps become crusty, form a scab and begin to heal.

The bumps on the body will not be in the same phase at the same time. New bumps will continuously appear throughout the infection.

What Causes Chickenpox?

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox infection. Most cases of this infection occur through contact with an infected person. The virus is contagious. The illness remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over. The virus can spread through:

  • Saliva
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Contact with fluid from the blisters

How Does It Spread?

The virus spreads very easily. One can get the virus by breathing into particles that come from chickenpox blisters or by touching something on which the particles have already landed.

Chickenpox is most contagious from 1 to 2 days before the appearance of the rash until all the blisters are dried and crusted.
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus is to get a vaccination against varicella virus.

What Are its Complications?

Chickenpox is usually considered a mild disease. But it can be severe and lead to complications such as:

  • Bacterial infections are known as sepsis
  • Dehydration
  • Pneumonia
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Reye’s syndrome in children and teenagers 
  • In very rare cases, death

Who Is At Risk?

Rarely, someone will get chickenpox more than once. The vast majority of the time, chickenpox only affects people once (usually in their childhood). Individuals who are at higher risk of developing chickenpox complications include:

  • New-borns whose mothers never had chickenpox or the vaccine
  • Adolescents and adults
  • Pregnant women who have not had chickenpox
  • People who smoke
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who are taking steroid medications

How Is Chickenpox Treated?

Most people diagnosed with chickenpox infection will be advised to cope up with their symptoms while they wait for the virus to flush out through their system. Parents and guardians will be told to keep children out of school and day-care to prevent the spread of the virus. In the same way, infected adults will also need to stay home.

The doctor may prescribe some antihistamine medications or topical ointments to help relieve itching. The person can also soothe itching skin by:

  • Taking lukewarm baths
  • Applying unscented lotion
  • Wearing lightweight, soft clothing

What Prevention One Should Take?

The chickenpox (varicella) vaccination is the best way someone can prevent chickenpox. The vaccine ensures strong protection from the virus if full doses are administered. If the vaccine does not offer complete protection, it significantly reduces the severity of chickenpox.

The chickenpox vaccine is recommended for:

Young children under age 13 years should get two doses of the vaccine:

  • First Dose: At the age of 12-15 months
  • Second Dose: At the age of 4-6 years

Older Children Who Are Unvaccinated

  • Children between 7 to 12 years who have not been vaccinated should receive two doses of the vaccine, given at least three months apart.

  • Children age 13 years or older who have not been vaccinated should also receive two doses of the vaccine, given at least four weeks apart.

Adults who have never had chickenpox, are unvaccinated against chickenpox or are at high risk of exposure:

  • Adults who never had chickenpox or been vaccinated typically receive two doses of the vaccine, four to eight weeks apart. If an individual does not remember about chickenpox or the vaccine, a blood test can determine their immunity.

  • These adults include health care professionals, child care employees, teachers, travelers, military personnel, adults who live with young children, and women of childbearing age.

Natural Remedies for Chicken Pox treatment

  1. Avoid scratching
  2. Apply a cool compress to soothe inflammation
  3. Take an oatmeal bath to reduce skin dryness and itchiness
  4. Apply baking soda, honey, apple cider vinegar, or an antihistamine lotion to soothe inflammation and reduce irritation
  5. Use neem and jojoba oils
  6. Apply essential oils
  7. Use antiviral herbs and supplements to boost immunity
  8. Stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet.


Medical Tests and Health Checkups Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).


Data Sources:


Chickenpox:  Symptoms,  Causes, Prevention and Risks
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Chickenpox: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Risks
Read chickenpox symptoms, causes, prevention and risks. Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes an itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. Chickenpox is highly contagious to people who haven't had the disease or been vaccinated against it.
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