Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Varicella Overview

Another name for Varicella is Chicken Pox.

What is chicken pox?
A person with chicken pox has a viral infection that causes a red rash and blisters. Chicken pox is caused by the Herpes varicella-zoster virus. Chicken pox has become rare in the US, due to vaccination of children against varicella zoster.

What are the symptoms of chicken pox?
Initial symptoms of chicken pox are similar to a cold and include runny nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and fever. Later symptoms include headache, malaise, body aches and a rash. The rash starts out red and raised and later turns into clear blisters. Itching is common.

How does the doctor treat chicken pox?
Treatment for chicken pox may include rest, cool baths, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever. Other medications include oral antihistamines and cough medicine. Antiviral medications may be recommended in some patients.

Continue to Varicella Incidence

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Varicella References
  1. Arvin AM. Antiviral therapy for varicella and herpes zoster. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 2002 Jan;13(1):12-21. [12118839]
  2. Hambleton S. Chickenpox. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2005 Jun;18(3):235-40. [15864101]
  3. Harris D, Redhead J. Should acyclovir be prescribed for immunocompetent children presenting with chickenpox? Arch Dis Child. 2005 Jun;90(6):648-50. [15908639]
  4. Swingler G. Chickenpox. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):1050-7. [15865701]
  5. Vazquez M. Varicella infections and varicella vaccine in the 21st century. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 Sep;23(9):871-2. [15361729]
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