Chickenpox is a viral infection and is highly contagious. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Chickenpox primarily occurs in children under 10 years of age but can affect the adults as well. The disease can be severe in adults.  It causes different of skin eruption described as ‘pleomorphic rash’, besides itching, tiredness and fever.


The content of this module has been validated by Dr Pradeep Khasnobis, National Centre for Disease Control on 21st September 2014.

It includes:

  • Rashes first appearing on the body then spreading to face, arms and legs
  • Itching
  • Sudden fever which can be mild to moderate  
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of un-wellness (Malaise)


Chickenpox spreads from infected person to non-infected person (contagious disease). The virus spreads through coughing or sneezing of infected person. It can also be spread by touching the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters.

It usually takes about 10-21 days after the contact with an infected person to show the symptoms. This is called incubation period.


Chickenpox can be diagnosed with classical symptoms. However, Microscopic examination of the skin lesion can be done for laboratory confirmation of the disease.


Calamine lotion is used in in relieving the itching during checkenpox. Fingernails should be trimmed short so as to prevent skin infections caused by scratching blisters.

  • Pain killers (Analgesics) like Paracetamol, and ibuprofen help in relieving the pain.
  • Antiviral drugs may be given only in complicated cases or as prescribed by doctor.
  • The patient is advised to consume a plenty of fluids.


Vaccination is the safest way to prevent chickenpox. It should be administered to the children less than 13 years.  First dose is administered during 12-15 months and the second dose is in between 4-6 years.

Vaccine is recommended by Indian Association of Pediatrics (IAP). However, it is not available in the public health distribution system.


  • LAST UPDATED ON : Sep 16, 2015


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