Chickenpox used to be practically a childhood rite. You'd sleep on the couch, lie about not scratching your spots, get an oatmeal bath—it was a whole thing - Sara Chodosh


image by: Melissa Mierop

HWN Suggests

What Happened To Chickenpox?

So, what happened to chickenpox?

For most people over the age of 12, they can recall the details of when they came down with chickenpox. Whether they missed a birthday party or were placed in a room with their siblings or sat in oatmeal baths for hours, it was a memorable experience.

For many, the symptoms were just an itchy rash and fever that subsided after a few days. But, for a minority of others, the virus was more serious.

“That’s true, chicken pox can be mild, but it can also have quite a few complications,” says Cynthia Kenyon, an epidemiologist who heads up the Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health.


read full article


 What Happened To Chickenpox?

Both the chickenpox virus and the chickenpox vaccine (a weakened form of the virus) can later develop into a shingles. But, according to Kenyon, research shows shingles occurs less often among vaccinated children than those who had the natural disease.

While no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease, the chickenpox vaccine is very effective: about 8 to 9 out of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chickenpox. In addition, the vaccine almost always prevents severe disease. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually a very mild case lasting only a few days and involving fewer skin blisters (usually less than 50), mild or no fever, and few other symptoms.

Pediatric EM Morsels

Fortunately, with the introduction of the successful vaccination program, the overall occurrence of primary varicella (chicken pox) has been reduced. While that is true, we still need to keep this condition on our radar.

Chicken Pox At 17

The 'diary' of a 17 year old blogger who annoyingly has Chicken Pox.


What the heck is a chicken pox anyway? In this BrainPOP movie, Tim and Moby introduce you to this classic childhood illness, explaining who gets it, and why that number is shrinking.


Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems. It spreads easily from infected people to others who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox spreads in the air through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters.


For healthy babies, chicken pox is usually more of a nuisance than a real threat. On rare occasions, though, even healthy children can develop serious complications from chicken pox, like a bacterial skin infection, pneumonia, or encephalitis, a swelling of the brain.


A hallmark of chickenpox is that all stages (red bumps, blisters, and scabs) can appear on the body at the same time. The rash may be more extensive or severe in kids who have skin disorders like eczema, or weak immune systems. Young kids tend to have a mild illness with fewer blisters than older children or adults.


Chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is highly contagious, and it can spread quickly. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the rash or by droplets dispersed into the air by coughing or sneezing.


In unimmunized populations, most people contract chickenpox by age 15, the majority between ages 5 and 9, but all ages can contract it. Chickenpox is usually more severe in adults and very young infants than children. Winter and spring are the most common times of the year for chickenpox to occur.


Chickenpox is usually mild and lasts 5 to 10 days. Calamine lotions and oatmeal baths can help with itching. Acetaminophen can treat the fever. Do not use aspirin for chickenpox; that combination can cause Reye syndrome. Chickenpox can sometimes cause serious problems. Adults, babies, teenagers, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems tend to get sicker from it. They may need to take antiviral medicines.


Chickenpox is most common in children under the age of 10. In fact, chickenpox is so common in childhood that over 90% of adults are immune to the condition because they've had it before.


Chickenpox is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is a DNA virus of the Herpesviridae family. Reactivation of the dormant virus after a bout of chickenpox leads to herpes zoster (shingles). Most chickenpox is mild to moderate and self-limiting but serious complications can occur in both the immunocompetent and the immunocompromised. It is a notifiable disease in Scotland and Northern Ireland but not in England.

Introducing Stitches!

Your Path to Meaningful Connections in the World of Health and Medicine
Connect, Collaborate, and Engage!

Coming Soon - Stitches, the innovative chat app from the creators of HWN. Join meaningful conversations on health and medical topics. Share text, images, and videos seamlessly. Connect directly within HWN's topic pages and articles.

Be the first to know when Stitches starts accepting users

Health Cloud

Stay Connected