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Chickenpox is a very contagious infection caused by a virus called varicella zoster.

Chickenpox is common in children under 10, but you can catch it at any age.


Symptoms first appear between 10 and 21 days of becoming infected with chickenpox. These can include:

  • high temperature
  • feeling unwell
  • aches and pains
  • rash
  • loss of appetite or babies may have problems with feeding

The first sign of chickenpox is usually red spots, these can be anywhere on the body. These spots then fill with fluid and become blisters, which may burst. The spots and blisters will then scab over.

Spots around the genitals can cause pain when weeing (urinating).

Symptoms are usually worse in adults.

page last reviewed: 14/05/2019
next review due: 14/05/2022