Know All About

Dropdown with Links and Arrow



A mild but highly contagious, disease caused by the herpes zoster virus.

Sex or Age most Affected

All ages, but most common in children.

Signs & Symptons

One of 3 conditions that manifest with fever and a rash (others being Measles & German Measles) The following symptoms are usually mild in children, severe in adults:

  • Fever.
  • Abdominal pain or a general ill feeling that lasts 1 or 2 days.
    Skin eruptions that appear almost anywhere on the body, including the scalp, penis, inside of the mouth, nose, throat or vagina. They may be scattered over large areas, and they occur least on the arms and legs. They are tiny vesicles filled with a clear fluid. Vesicles in various stages of development can be seen at any given time, this being one of the diagnostic feature of the disease. Vesicles usually collapse within 24 hours and form scabs. New crops of Vesicles erupt every 3 to 4 days. There is intense itching especially when dry scabs tend to fall.


Infection with the herpes zoster virus. Incubation period after exposure is 7 to 21 days.

A newborn is protected for several months from chickenpox if the mother had the disease prior to or during pregnancy. The immunity diminishes in 10 to 12 months.

Risk Increases With

Use of immunosuppressive drugs.


A vaccine is now available for common use. Children who are on anticancer or immunosuppressive drugs, need greater prophylaxis.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.

Possible Complications

  • Secondary bacterial infection of chickenpox blisters.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Viral eye infection.
  • Orchitis (inflammation of the testis) and Encephalitis (rare).
  • Scarring (rare). This is more common if blisters become infected or child itches a lot.

Probable Outcomes

Spontaneous recovery. Children usually recover in 7 to 10 days. Adults take longer and are more likely to develop complications.

After recovery, a person has lifelong immunity against a recurrence of chickenpox.

After chickenpox runs its course, the virus remains dormant in the body (probably in the roots of nerves near the spinal cord).


General Measures

  • Use cool-water soaks or cool-water compresses to reduce itching.
  • Keep the patient as quiet and cool as possible. Heat and sweat trigger itching.
  • Keep the nails short to discourage scratching, which can lead to secondary infection and subsequent scarring.


The following non-prescription medicines may decrease itching:

  • Topical antihistamines, which provide quick, short-term relief.
  • Lotions that contain phenol, menthol and camphor (such as calamine lotion) are soothing, but are to be used use with care. Large amounts may be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, and they can be toxic.

If you must reduce fever, use acetaminophen instead of aspirin. Aspirin may contribute to the development of Reye’s syndrome, a form of encephalitis, when given to children during a viral illness.



Bed rest is not necessary. Allow quiet activity in a cool environment. A child may play outdoors in the shade during nice weather. Keep an ill child away from others until all blisters have crusted. If slightest pain in the testis, strict bed rest is to be implemented

Contact your Doctor

  • Severe pain in abdomen or testis.
  • Lethargy, headache or sensitivity to bright light develop.
  • Fever rises over 103F (39.4C).
  • Chickenpox lesions contain pus or otherwise appear infected.