What Are The Signs Of Chickenpox And How Long Is It Contagious?

My child had a chickenpox shot. However, it looks like he might have caught them anyway. What are the signs of chickenpox? When is he contagious?

The chickenpox vaccine is 70 to 90 percent effective, so there is a 10 to 30 percent chance that a vaccinated child will come down with the virus. It is a good idea to have a doctor confirm your diagnosis.

Before the characteristic chickenpox spots break out, there may be fever, (rarely high) fatigue, headache and sometimes a cough or sore throat. The rash may occur anywhere and everywhere on the body, but is often confined to the torso and scalp. It typically starts as flat reddish spots that change into raised pimples and then fluid-filled blisters, before breaking and crusting over. The whole cycle, from spot to crust, may run about eight hours, but new areas with rash continue to break out for several days.

Chickenpox is highly contagious. Your son was probably exposed to the virus 10 to 21 days before he got sick. He has been contagious from about 48 hours before the rash broke out and will remain so until all the sores have crusted over in about four or five days.

While chickenpox does occasionally cause serious complications, it is usually a very mild disease among young children. Older children and adults have more discomfort and greater risk of complications.

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