Thanks to the chickenpox vaccine, the chickenpox virus is less common than ever in children. However, your child could still get sick with chickenpox if they haven’t received the vaccine or experience a breakthrough infection after getting vaccinated.
Whether or not your child has had the chickenpox vaccine, it’s important to learn the signs of chickenpox so you can quickly take the next steps in supporting your child through the infection.
Find out from board-certified pediatrician Rainilda Valencia, MD, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, of Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, CA, what the telltale symptoms are that may indicate your child has chickenpox.
What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. You can get it at any age, but it’s far more common in children than adults.
Most of the time, chickenpox causes mild symptoms in children, but it can cause your child to feel uncomfortably itchy and to experience blistering skin. Most of the time, children can only get chickenpox one time and then are immune to getting it again.
What are the key symptoms of chickenpox?
Many symptoms of chickenpox are similar to other viral infections, including colds and influenza. This includes your child developing a fever, fatigue, reduced appetite, headaches and body aches, and irritability.
Some symptoms, though, are telltale signs your child has chickenpox rather than another virus. These symptoms are:
Raised pink or red rash bumps
The first sign of chickenpox is the development of a rash — bumps that are pink or red. These rash bumps can appear anywhere or throughout your child’s body, including inside their mouth or eyelids.
Chickenpox bumps typically remain for the duration of your child’s infection, usually around a week. The bumps that appear throughout your child’s body can be very itchy, and your child might have a difficult time not scratching them.
The bumps that appear on your child’s body eventually turn into blisters filled with fluid. Usually, after about a day, these blisters pop and go away.
The popped blisters then harden and turn into scabs. These generally heal and go away after several days, although occasionally children can develop permanent scars from scabs.
How can I treat chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a virus that lasts about a week for most children. Keep your child hydrated and comfortable by giving them plenty of fluids and acetaminophen for any pain and fever that occurs. Help your child minimize itching with cool oatmeal baths and calamine lotion.
Contact the Valencia Pediatrics team for further treatment advice, especially if your child is younger than six months old, has a compromised immune system, develops a high fever over 102°F, or shows signs of infection in any rashes, bumps, or lesions.
If your child hasn’t had chickenpox, you can greatly reduce their risk of developing the virus with the chickenpox vaccine. At Valencia Pediatrics, we administer the chickenpox vaccine in a comfortable and child-friendly environment.
Getting the chickenpox vaccine means your child probably won’t get chickenpox, and if they do get a breakthrough infection, will experience far milder symptoms than if they weren’t vaccinated.
For care advice for a child who has chickenpox or to schedule a chickenpox vaccination, get in touch with our friendly Valencia Pediatrics team by calling 442-204-0019.