Chickenpox

Also known as: chicken pox, varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection.

What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection that causes itchy spots (rash) in children who haven’t had the disease or been vaccinated against it.
 

What causes chickenpox? 

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is contagious and can be passed quickly from child to child by direct contact with the rash or by breathing in infected droplets (from an infected child coughing or sneezing).
 

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

Symptoms appear 10-21 days after exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms (fever, such as sore throat, aches and pains) usually appear 1-2 days before the rash (when the child is most infectious). The rash consists of red/pink spots/bumps which continue to develop over a few days. Bumps, blisters, crusts and scabs may all be present at the same time and cover the entire body. The rash can involve the urethra, anus and vagina and spots may be found in the throat and on the eyes. When the all of the rash is dry and crusted, the child is no longer infectious and can return to school.
 

What are chickenpox care options?

 Chickenpox is usually a mild disease however complications can occur, particularly in the newborn baby and infants of unvaccinated mothers, children whose immune system does not function normally (may be due to medications, cancer or HIV that suppresses the immune system), pregnant women, or adults.
Prevention with chickenpox (varicella) vaccine usually protects 98% of people who receive both doses.
In healthy children chickenpox does not usually require any medical treatment. If needed, treatment aims at relieving the itching symptoms - antihistaminic, compresses and lukewarm baths, topical calamine and other over-the-counter medications. 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:13:52 PM

From the Newsdesk

Patients Share Inspiring Testimonials at First Annual Vascular Birthmarks Conference
05/18/2018 — In observance of vascular birthmarks awareness month, The International Birthmarks Institute at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital held its first Vascular Birthmarks Conference at the hospital’s main campus on May 5th. The event brought together patients, families and medical professionals representing a range of specialties to present the latest in diagnosis, treatment and research related to birthmarks. 
Kids Flu Center: Prevention and Care Tips for the Flu
02/07/2018 — Visit our flu page for helpful tips on preventing the spread of the flu virus and view our symptoms checker. Remember, antivirals are more effective if started within the first 48 hours- seek medical care at the sign of symptoms. For your convenience, our pediatric urgent care centers are available in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county. 

Video

video
Dr. Otto Ramos, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, discusses topics regarding how the Zika virus is trasmitted, diagnosed, what the symptoms are, and how to prevent infection.