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Chickenpox: Introduction

Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by a type of herpesvirus called the varicella zoster virus. Chickenpox affects the skin with the typical red, blister-like rash. Chickenpox is preventable through chickenpox vaccination and has become less common since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine. In some cases, chickenpox can be serious and result in complications.

The chickenpox virus spreads from person to person when someone with the disease talks, coughs or sneezes. This shoots droplets contaminated with the varicella zoster virus into the air where they can be breathed in by others. Chickenpox can also be transmitted by touching the fluids from the chickenpox rash. The varicella zoster virus is extremely contagious. People at risk for getting chickenpox include anyone who has not been vaccinated for the disease and is exposed to a person with the disease.

The classic symptom of chickenpox is a rash. Complications of the chickenpox are rare but can be serious. Complications include pneumonia, encephalitis, and bacterial infection. There are also potential complications for unborn babies whose mother contract chickenpox. For more key symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of chickenpox.

Making a diagnosis of chickenpox involves taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and vaccination history, and performing a physical exam.

It is possible that a diagnosis of chickenpox can be delayed or overlooked because the symptoms of chickenpox can resemble symptoms or other diseases and for other reasons. For information about misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic chickenpox, refer to misdiagnosis ofchickenpox.

Treatment of the chickenpox includes measures to help relieve symptoms and keep the body as strong as possible to minimize the risk of developing complications. This includes rest, medications to ease itching, pain, and fever and drinking plenty of fluids. Antibiotics are ineffective against the chickenpox. However, they may be prescribed for some children or adults who have developed a secondary bacterial infection. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of chickenpox. ...more »

Chickenpox: Common viral infection. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Chickenpox is available below.

Chickenpox: Symptoms

Symptoms of chickenpox affect the skin, as well as the lining of the throat and mouth. The classic symptom of chickenpox is the appearance of a red rash that contains fluid-filled blisters. The rash first appears on the trunk and generally spreads to the face, arms and legs. The rash can also spread to the genitals and scalp and develop the insides of the ...more symptoms »

Chickenpox: Treatments

Treatment of the chickenpox starts with prevention. The best protection from getting or spreading the chickenpox is receiving chickenpox vaccination. It is possible that a person who has had chickenpox vaccination may still get chickenpox, but the disease is generally far milder and the duration is shorter.

Preventing the spread of chickenpox and other ...more treatments »

Chickenpox: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the chickenpox is generally made from information obtained by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and vaccination history, and performing a physical exam. Misdiagnosing chickenpox is possible because some symptoms can be vague and similar to symptoms of other diseases, such as upper respiratory infection and influenza ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Chickenpox

Treatments for Chickenpox

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Chickenpox:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Chickenpox?

Chickenpox: Related Patient Stories

Chickenpox: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Chickenpox.

Alternative Treatments for Chickenpox

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Chickenpox may include:

Types of Chickenpox

Chickenpox: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Chickenpox:

Causes of Chickenpox

Read more about causes of Chickenpox.

More information about causes of Chickenpox:

Disease Topics Related To Chickenpox

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Chickenpox:

Chickenpox: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Chickenpox

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although more »

Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection, such as a common more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, more »

Chickenpox: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Chickenpox

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Chickenpox:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Chickenpox, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Latest Treatments for Chickenpox

Chickenpox: Animations

Prognosis for Chickenpox

Prognosis for Chickenpox: While chickenpox is a mild disease for children, adults usually get much sicker. (Source: excerpt from Shots for Safety -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Research about Chickenpox

Visit our research pages for current research about Chickenpox treatments.

Clinical Trials for Chickenpox

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Chickenpox include:

Prevention of Chickenpox

Prevention information for Chickenpox has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Chickenpox.

Statistics for Chickenpox

Chickenpox: Broader Related Topics

Chickenpox Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Chickenpox, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Chickenpox:

Highly contagious infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (Herpesvirus 3); usually affects children, is spread by direct contact or respiratory route via droplet nuclei, and is characterized by the appearance on the skin and mucous membranes of successive crops of typical pruritic vesicular lesions that are easily broken and become scabbed; chickenpox is relatively benign in children, but may be complicated by pneumonia and encephalitis in adults. - (Source - Diseases Database)

An acute contagious disease caused by herpes varicella zoster virus; causes a rash of vesicles on the face and body - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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