Chickenpox – Definition and Symptoms


If you begin to notice your child wakes up one morning with a rash of spots that followed a runny nose and a cough, you are more than likely looking at chickenpox.

A virus known as varicella zoster causes chickenpox. If your child does develop chickenpox, you will see a rash of spots that look like blisters all over their body. The blisters themselves sit on a red area of skin. They can be just about any size from the size of a pencil eraser to that of a dime.

Chickenpox can be accompanied by a runny nose and cough even though in some children these two symptoms disappear once the spots have developed. The worst thing about chickenpox is that they itch.

What to watch for are a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and a cough. You may think your child has a cold, but within one or two days, the rash begins to appear. Most of the time, you will notice the rash first on the chest and face in groups. From there is spreads to the entire body. However, this is a worse case scenario; some children only have the rash on their chest, face, and back, while others may even have them inside their ears and mouth.

In the very beginning, the rash will look like pinkish dots that will develop a small blister on top. After you notice the blisters, in about 24 to 24 hours the fluid inside the blisters will begin to look a bit cloudy and will then crust over.

However, this does not mean that they are just about over chickenpox when you notice a few of the spots crusting over. The blisters appear in waves, when one group begins to crust over, new blisters appear on another group of red dots. It normally takes around seven days before you will not notice any new spots. Some children may not develop any more spots after only three days, but seven is the longest. Within one week of the last group of spots developing blisters they should all crust over. Once, you notice the crusting on all the spots then the chickenpox are on their way to healing.

Some children may have more than just a cough and a runny nose; many also have a stomachache and a fever.

Chickenpox is contagious. The most contagious time for chickenpox is before the rash appears during the first two to five days when they have the cough and runny nose. Therefore, you will not know that your little one has chickenpox before it is too late.

Chickenpox will make your child uncomfortable and if you have never developed chickenpox, you can also come down with them. The best advice is to talk to your doctor and have your child receive a shot for chickenpox. This does not mean that he or she will not ever catch them but if they do, it will be mild.