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8.18.23 Public Education Topic: Chickenpox/Varicella

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It can cause an itchy, blister-like rash among other symptoms. The rash first appears on the chest, back, and face, and then spreads over the entire body.

Chickenpox can be serious, especially during pregnancy, in babies, adolescents, adults, and people with weakened immune systems (lowered ability to fight germs and sickness).

The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine.

Signs and Symptoms

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Anyone who has not had chickenpox or gotten the chickenpox vaccine can get the disease. Chickenpox illness usually lasts about 4 to 7 days. The classic symptom of chickenpox is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs. The rash may first show up on the chest, back, and face, and then spread over the entire body, including inside the mouth, eyelids, or genital area. It usually takes about one week for all of the blisters to become scabs. Other typical symptoms that may begin to appear one to two days before rash include:

  • fever

  • tiredness

  • loss of appetite

  • headache

Children usually miss 5 to 6 days of school or childcare due to chickenpox.

For additional information, please visit: About Chickenpox | CDC

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