With the availability of chickenpox vaccine the incidence of chickenpox has reduced significantly. This vaccine has become a required part of the immunization series in Virginia.
Chickenpox is caused by a virus. Usually the child will have a low grade fever (101-102°F) for several days and an itchy rash that starts on the chest and spreads to the face, back, arms and legs. The rash itself starts as a reddish mark that quickly becomes a little clear blister. Each blister then pops and scabs and crusts over. New blisters form as the old ones crust over. The child is contagious from one to two days before the rash appears and until every blister is crusted over. He may then return to daycare or school. Incubation period is 2-3 weeks from exposure.
Treatment is directed toward making the child more comfortable: Acetaminophen (Tylenol or Tempra — never asprin) to control the fever. Control the itching with Aveeno (oatmeal) baths several times a day, and use Benadryl every 4 hours as needed for itching.
Most children with chicken pox are miserable and do not want to eat. However they do need to drink lots of fluids to remain well-hydrated.
Old chickenpox sores may discolor the skin temporarily, but normal skin color will return in several months.