Varicella (or chicken pox) is a common infection that causes an itchy rash. It is caused by the virus Varicella Zoster. It usually affects children, but can also affect adults. The rash can occur anywhere on the body, including the mouth, eyes and around the genitals. In many countries, including the US, a vaccine available for varicella is included in the vaccination program.

Varicella can spread very easily between people who have either not been vaccinated, or not have chicken pox themselves in the past.

In addition to the rash, chicken pox may also cause:

  • High temperature (fever)
  • Headache
  • Aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite

In healthy children infected with chicken pox most make a complete recovery in around 2 weeks. While it is uncommon, complications from being infected with chicken pox can happen and vaccination reduces the risk of this.

(Shown in illustration)
A rash usually appears around 10-21 days after exposure to someone with chicken pox, and can last 5-10 days. It often appears on the chest, back and face before spreading over the entire body, although some children have a smaller area of rash.
New spots can appear while others are blisters, or have already formed a scab.
Raised spot
Fluid filled blister
The chicken pox rash is made up of spots that can vary in color from red, pink or darker in color, or even the same color as surrounding skin on darker skin tones.
Stage 1
Small raised spots appear at first.The color varies depending on theskin tone.
Stage 2
The spots fill up with fluid and become small blisters called vesicles, when then eventually break and leak.
Stage 3
The blisters crust to form scabs. Some can initially leak fluid. It takes around 1 week for all the blisters to become scabs.

Clinical Images
Varicella - 1899584
Varicella - 1899471

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