The most common symptoms of chickenpox include:
- Chickenpox rash
- Nausea/loss of appetite
- Fever (above 38°C)
- Malaise (feeling unwell)
Chickenpox is most easily characterized by the well-known chickenpox rashes. These start off as small red, itchy spots that can occur anywhere on the body, and undergo three telltale stages throughout the chickenpox infection.
The three stages of chickenpox rashes
Note that patient can have rashes of any stage at any one time on their body. The following images display what chickenpox looks like throughout different stages of the condition.
The chickenpox rash resembles red spots which have a semi-roundish outline. These can be slightly raised and can start to itch.
After 10-12 hours, the spots typically start to develop into fluid-filled vesicles which resemble blisters. These pustules might burst on their own. This is typically the itchiest stage of the rashes.
In the final stages of the rash, the blisters scab over and become/appear dry. This is known as umbilication.
Patients suffering from chickenpox also typically experience systemic signs of infection, including fatigue, malaise, high temperature (above 38°C), sweating, loss of appetite and feeling sick. These symptoms often occur before the chickenpox rashes develop, and can be a precursor to indicate a chickenpox infection is impending. Medically, these warning symptoms are known as prodromal symptoms. Prodromal symptoms uncommon in children, but are often seen in adolescents and adults.
Symptoms of a chickenpox infection can occur up to 3 weeks (but usually earlier) following exposure to the virus and can last anywhere between 5 to 7 days. However, the infection can persist for up a month in certain individuals. In these cases, you should seek medical advice.