Chickenpox is a common childhood illness. Many children now receive immunizations for chickenpox, but if your child didn’t receive a vaccination for some reason, it’s helpful to understand the signs of chickenpox. Many of the symptoms are common in other types of illnesses, so you may not realize that your child has the chickenpox until you see the telltale red spots.
The fever associated with chickenpox usually occurs about two days before the rash starts. It will most likely be between 100 and 102 degrees. It should go away once other symptoms start to appear, but if it persists longer than four days, you should contact your doctor.
Your child may experience a mild headache along with the fever. This could leave just a general “sick feeling” without realizing that it’s actually the chickenpox. Headaches are common with many different illnesses, so a headache alone is not necessarily a sign of the chickenpox.
Some people with chickenpox experience a sore throat starting two days before the rash starts. It should be a mild sore throat and may persist only a few days or last a week or longer.
Red spots on the chest, back or face are usually the first sign that you recognize as chickenpox. The initial red spots are small and raised, looking like clusters of pimples or bug bites. They will spread quickly over the entire body, including the feet, hands, mouth and genitals.
The red spots will quickly grow bigger and start to blister. They are filled with a cloudy liquid. The blisters will break, leaving an open sore that will soon crust over into a scab. Eventually, the skin under the scab will heal and the scab will fall off. After all of the blisters have turned into scabs, your child is no longer contagious.
The spots, blisters and scabs are notoriously itchy, which can cause a lot of discomfort in your child. Applying calamine lotion can ease the problem.
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