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Cartersville Medical Center

Symptoms of Chickenpox

Symptoms usually occur 10-21 days after contact with the chickenpox virus. Initial symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Stomach ache

Within 1-2 days after the initial symptoms, a rash develops. Characteristics of the rash include:

  • The rash usually develops on the skin above the waist, including the scalp. Exposed areas are often most affected.
  • The rash may sometimes appear on the inside of the eyelids, in the mouth, nose, throat, upper airway, voice box, rectum, or vagina.
  • At first, the rash consists of small, flat, red spots.
  • The spots become raised and form clusters of round, itchy, fluid-filled blisters on a red base.
  • The blisters usually burst to form sores which finally crusts and scabs over before healing.
  • New clusters form over 5-6 days, so for awhile there will be a variety of spots visible at the same time.
  • In healthy children, the rash usually crusts over by day 6-7. The crusts are gone within three weeks, usually without scarring. Note: Some people who are immunocompromised may have more severe cases that last longer.

Revision Information

  • Chickenpox. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: Updated May 2010. Accessed February 29, 2016.

  • Chickenpox. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated September 8, 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.

  • Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated November 18, 2014. Accessed February 29, 2016.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.