Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. The rash appears first on the stomach, back and face and then spreads over the entire body causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters…
About ChickenpoxSigns & symptoms, transmission, complications, prevention, treatment photos…
VaccinationInformation about chickenpox vaccine, who should be vaccinated, vaccination options, vaccine safety…
For Health Care ProfessionalsClinical features, complications, interpretation of laboratory tests, assessing immunity to chickenpox…
Laboratory Testing for VZVGuidelines for collecting and shipping specimens to CDC lab…
SurveillanceInformation about monitoring chickenpox cases, outbreaks, and deaths…
OutbreaksSummary of chickenpox outbreaks in the U.S., guidelines for investigating and controlling outbreaks…
References and ResourcesScientific articles and educational materials related to chickenpox…
MultimediaFeature story and podcast related to chickenpox…
Signs & Symptoms
If you have never had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccine, typical symptoms are:
- blister-like rash with severe itching all over the body
- loss of appetite
If you have been vaccinated for chickenpox, some people can still get the disease, but it is usually mild with fewer blisters and low or no fever.
Chickenpox Vaccine Saves Lives
Get Vaccinated to Protect Yourself and Others
In 2012, a 4-year-old girl with leukemia died from chickenpox. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to get a serious case of chickenpox and may not be able to get the chickenpox vaccine. That’s why it’s important that these people be protected by herd immunity, meaning those who can’t get vaccinated are protected because those who can get vaccinated do. Herd immunity helps slow and can even stop the spread of disease, so there is a smaller chance that those who are not protected come into contact with the disease.
You can protect others by staying up-to-date on your vaccines. You should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine to prevent chickenpox.
Chickenpox Fact Sheet
For Kids: Chickenpox Blister Sisters
Meet the chickenpox blister sisters, disease villains who make their victims (usually kids) itch like crazy from chickenpox rash…
Some people are more likely to get a serious case of chickenpox. Call a health care provider if the person
- is older than 12 years of age
- has a chronic skin or lung disorders
- has a weakened immune system
- is pregnant
- has a fever above 102°F
- has any areas of the rash or any part of the body that becomes very red, warm, or tender, or begins leaking pus (thick, discolored fluid), since these symptoms may indicate a bacterial infection
Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.
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- Page last reviewed: April 11, 2016
- Page last updated: June 28, 2016
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