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Varicella; Chicken pox
Most children with chickenpox act sick, with symptoms such as a fever, headache, tummy ache, or loss of appetite for a day or two before breaking out in the classic pox rash. These symptoms last 2 to 4 days after breaking out.
The average child develops 250 to 500 small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters over red spots on the skin.
Most pox will not leave scars unless they become infected with bacteria from scratching.
Some children who have had the vaccine will still develop a mild case of chickenpox. They usually recover much more quickly and have only a few pox (less than 30). These cases are often harder to diagnose. However, these children can still spread chieckenpox to others.
Chickenpox is usually diagnosed from the classic rash and the child's medical history. Blood tests, and tests of the pox blisters themselves, can confirm the diagnosis if there is any question.
Myers MG, Seward JF, LaRussa PS. Varicella-zoster virus. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 250.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. Recommended immunization schedules for children and adolescents--United States, 2008. Pediatrics. 2008;121:219-220.
This article uses information by permission from Alan Greene, M.D., © Greene Ink, Inc.
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