Chickenpox, also called varicella, is characterized by itchy red blisters that appear all over the body. A virus causes this condition. It often affects children, and was so common it was considered a childhood rite of passage.
It’s very rare to have the chickenpox infection more than once. And since the chickenpox vaccine was introduced in the mid-1990s, cases have declined.
What Is Chickenpox?
And the really good news is that, thanks to the chickenpox vaccine, lots of kids don’t get chickenpox at all. Kids who do get it after they’ve gotten the shot often get less severe cases, which means they get better quicker.
What are the symptoms of chickenpox?
loss of appetite
One or two days after you experience these symptoms, the classic rash will begin to develop. The rash goes through three phases before you recover. These include:
You develop red or pink bumps all over your body.
The bumps become blisters filled with fluid that leaks.
The bumps become crusty, scab over, and begin to heal.
The bumps on your body will not all be in the same phase at the same time. New bumps will continuously appear throughout your infection. The rash may be very itchy, especially before it scabs over with a crust. You are still contagious until all the blisters on your body have scabbed over. The crusty scabbed areas eventually fall off. It takes seven to 14 days to disappear completely.
What Happens When You Have Chickenpox?
Chickenpox may start out seeming like a cold: You might have a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and a cough. But 1 to 2 days later, the rash begins, often in bunches of spots on the chest and face. From there it can spread out quickly over the entire body sometimes the rash is even in a person’s ears and mouth.
The number of pox is different for everyone. Some people get just a few bumps; others are covered from head to toe. At first, the rash looks like pinkish dots that quickly develop a small blister on top (a blister is a bump on your skin that fills up with fluid). After about 24 to 48 hours, the fluid in the blisters gets cloudy and the blisters begin to crust over.
Chickenpox blisters show up in waves, so after some begin to crust over, a new group of spots might appear. New chickenpox usually stop appearing by the seventh day, though they may stop as early as the third day. It usually takes 10–14 days for all the blisters to be scabbed over and then you are no longer contagious.
Besides the rash, someone with chickenpox might also have a stomachache, a fever, and may just not feel well.
How Does Chickenpox Spread?
Chickenpox is contagious, meaning that somebody who has it can easily spread it to someone else. A person with chickenpox is most contagious during the first 2 to 5 days of being sick. That’s usually about 1 to 2 days before the rash shows up. So you could be spreading around chickenpox without even knowing it!
Someone with chickenpox can pass it to others by coughing or sneezing. When he or she coughs, sneezes, laughs, and even talks, tiny drops come out of the mouth and nose. These drops are full of the chickenpox virus. It’s easy for others to breathe in these drops or get them on their hands. Before you know it, the chickenpox virus has infected someone new.
If you are that unlucky person, how do you keep your chickenpox from driving you crazy? They itch, but you’re not supposed to scratch them.
These tips can help you feel less itchy:
- Keep cool because heat and sweat will make you itch more. You might want to put a cool, wet washcloth on the really bad areas.
- Trim your fingernails, so if you do scratch, you won’t tear your skin.
- Soak in a lukewarm bath. Adding some oatmeal to your bath water can help relieve the itching.
- Have your mom or dad help you apply calamine lotion, which soothes itching.