Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction About Chicken Pox | VIMS&RC

Debunking the Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction About Chicken Pox

Facts on Chicken Pox
Chicken pox

Unveiling the Mystery: Chickenpox Basics

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is an extremely contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Symptoms of chickenpox typically include fever, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite, followed by an itchy rash of fluid-filled blisters. There is a common myth about chicken pox that it is not serious but unfortunately, it is not true. In rare cases, there have been reports of adult persons dying because of chickenpox infection. 

Make sure to distinguish monkeypox from chicken pox. Monkeypox is an orthopoxvirus whereas Chicken pox is a herpes virus. In simple terms, the main difference is that chickenpox is more contagious as compared to Monkeypox. Also, in monkeypox, there are swollen lymph nodes whereas there is no such scenario in the case of chickenpox. 

The available data suggests that chickenpox is still widespread in northern parts of India like Jharkhand, and outbreaks of chickenpox continue to occur in the unvaccinated rural population.

Chickenpox Symptoms: Recognizing the Signs

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is transmitted through direct contact with the rash or inhalation of airborne droplets from infected individuals. The journey of chickenpox begins with subtle signs:

Chickenpox Common Symptoms
Early Stage:

Fever, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite appear 1-3 weeks before the rash.

Chickenpox Rash:

The hallmark feature of chickenpox is the rash. Starting on the chest, back, and face, the rash then spreads to the whole body. It develops into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually scab over.

Chickenpox Spots:

These can appear anywhere, including the face, scalp, mouth, and even genitals, adding to the discomfort.

Navigating the Stages: Chickenpox Progression

Chickenpox progresses through distinct stages: initial flu-like symptoms, incubation period, and the emergence of a rash in waves. Understanding the stages helps manage expectations:

Start of Chickenpox:

At the start, the symptoms are flu-like with fever and fatigue being the starting point. 

Incubation Period:

The infected person may not know about the infection as the virus does not present any symptoms right after the infection. The virus silently multiplies for 10-21 days before symptoms show.


As the disease progresses the rash emerges in waves, with new spots appearing while older ones scab over. This cycle lasts 5-7 days.

Beyond Childhood: Understanding Chickenpox in Adults

Chickenpox is commonly associated with children. Therefore, it is a common myth that chicken pox only affects children. But adults can be equally infected and often the symptoms experienced by the adults are severe. The fever can turn into pneumonia and under rare circumstances can also result in the death of the person.

Protecting the Youngest: Chickenpox in Babies and Children

Babies born to mothers with no immunity or very little immunity are at higher risk of any complications. Therefore, the baby or the child may need vaccination. There is a common myth that the chicken pox vaccine can also lead to chicken pox infection due to the technicality of vaccine preparation. But vaccination is one of the best ways to protect children and also the best shield against any outbreaks.

Chickenpox Diagnosis

Diagnosis: Unmasking the Truth

Before going for any home remedies it is important to consult the doctor immediately. A thorough examination by a healthcare professional is essential for diseases like chicken pox. Additionally:

Chickenpox Titer Test:

This blood test measures VZV immunity levels, guiding vaccination decisions.

Differentiating Chickenpox vs. Shingles:

Though caused by the same virus, these conditions have distinct presentations.

Managing the Discomfort: Chickenpox Treatment Options

Treatment for chickenpox involves managing symptoms with over-the-counter medications, antihistamines, and antiviral medications. While chickenpox usually runs its course, several strategies can alleviate symptoms:

The 2 Stages of Chicken Pox Rashes
Chickenpox Medicine:

Over-the-counter medications can help manage fever and pain.


Antihistamines can reduce itchiness, and antiviral medications may be prescribed in specific cases.

Early Stage Treatment:

Early intervention with antiviral medication can shorten the course of the disease.

Treatment for Adults:

Adults often require more aggressive treatment due to the potential for severe complications.

Varicella Treatment:

Supportive care and symptom management are the mainstays of varicella treatment.

Building Immunity: Prevention is Key

Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent chickenpox and its complications:

Chickenpox Vaccine:

The varicella vaccine is safe and highly effective, protecting individuals and communities.

Varicella Vaccine for Adults:

Unvaccinated adults or those with low immunity can benefit from vaccination.

Chickenpox and Pregnancy:

Vaccination before pregnancy is crucial to protect both mother and baby.

Beyond the Scars: Managing Long-Term Effects

While most scars fade over time, some concerns linger:

Chickenpox Scar Prevention:

Early intervention with calamine lotion and avoiding scratching can minimize scarring.

Scar Treatment:

Laser treatments or dermabrasion might be options for bothersome scars.

Conclusion: Embracing Awareness

Chickenpox, though often considered a childhood illness, deserves a deeper understanding. By dispelling myths and embracing accurate information, we can empower ourselves and our communities to make informed decisions about prevention, diagnosis, and management. Remember, vaccination remains the cornerstone of preventing the spread of this contagious disease.

Vydehi Institute of Medical Science and Research Center is committed to providing reliable information and promoting public health awareness. We encourage you to consult with your healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance regarding chickenpox.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are 3 symptoms of chickenpox?

Ans: The initial stages of chickenpox can manifest as non-specific symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, or stomachache, lasting a few days with a low-grade fever. The characteristic itchy rash, often beginning on the torso and face, typically follows.

  1. What are the main causes of chickenpox?

Ans: Chickenpox, formally varicella, arises from the varicella-zoster virus. Transmission occurs through direct contact with the characteristic rash or inhalation of airborne droplets expelled by infected individuals coughing or sneezing.

  1. How long are the stages of chicken pox?

Ans: Chickenpox manifests in different stages over 2-4 days. Initially, red bumps appear on the skin, evolving into fluid-filled blisters with fragile walls. When these fragile walls rupture, they form open sores that eventually crust over as dry and brown scabs. The important point to be noted is that all the three stages i.e., the bumps, blisters, and the scabs, coexist simultaneously on the affected individual.

Chicken Pox

For Any Skin Related Issue

Book Consultation

Leave a Reply