Chickenpox: symptoms, images, and vaccination

And suddenly there are all itchy pustules: What you need to know about chickenpox, its history and vaccination, what symptoms occur and looks like the disease.

What are chickenpox at all?

Child with chicken pox on the face

Chicken pox itch quite terrible.


are known chickenpox (eng. Chicken pocks) as "classic" childhood disease. triggers the varicella infection by the herpes zoster virus. If the illness once stood, although there is a lifelong immunity, but is completely going to the herpes virus still does not. The rest namely in the nerve endings and can be active in adulthood again - as painful shingles. Chickenpox is still widely used despite vaccination recommendations of STIKO, which is also because that infection by many parents as rather harmless and in healthy children between two and ten years mostly heals quickly and without consequences. In adults and teenagers over 16 years but chickenpox can also take a much more severe.
As you put on with chickenpox?

The name says it all: Chickenpox is highly contagious, almost every person who comes into contact with a patient infected. The pathogens can be transmitted from person to person by sneezing, speaking and breathing, but also through contaminated objects. Highly contagious, the wound fluid of chickenpox sores, if they are scratched or rise by itself. By the way: Shingles is not as contagious as the virus is not transmitted through the air.

Chickenpox usually occur all over the body


From the day of infection to the outbreak of chicken pox it usually takes 12 to 16 days Incubation period is therefore about two weeks. are contagious with chickenpox sufferers already up to two days before the onset of symptoms and until the last blisters are crusted.

➤ Leave the diagnosis "chickenpox" secure by a doctor. Call your suspicions but first in practice to prevent the spread to others with chickenpox - because in babies and pregnant women, the disease can cause serious complications.

➤ Does your child have chickenpox, it must not in school, kindergarten or other community facilities (Infection Protection Act). To avoid infection, you should definitely inform school, kindergarten and Co..
Chickenpox symptoms

In the beginning, the chickenpox show rather nonspecific symptoms such as mild fever and fatigue. Only between the 3rd and 5th day of illness forms the typical rash. First, lentil-sized red spots appear, from which are rapidly water-containing vesicles. The bubbles burst and crust over. In spurts new chickenpox come so that all stages - spots, sores, scabs - simultaneously occur together (so-called "starry sky"). This rash is very itchy. Besides the skin, including the scalp and the oral mucosa and the genitals are affected by the chicken pox, which often cause the most excruciating itching. Until the last bubbles are healed it takes about five to ten days. Fever for chicken pox is possible, but rarely rises very high. When healing the festering sores small scars, most of which disappear after some time arise.

chickenpox symptoms

Chickenpox symptoms at a glance

Treatment of chicken pox

Since chickenpox are caused by a virus, the treatment is restricted in most cases to the Relieving symptoms. The exception are children and adults with congenital or caused by serious conditions immunodeficiency - they can within four days after infection by the administration of antibodies (hyperimmune globulin) or a drug that prevents the multiplication of viruses (antiviral), are protected ,

Chickenpox in the baby and toddler

Chickenpox in babies and toddlers - often less pustules


Symptom relief is combated mainly itching. Because that can be very strong and from excessive scratching later visible scars may remain. Against itching of pustules, for example, zinc ointment helpful, but also treatment with antihistamines (Anti-allergy medications).

What else can you do?
Make sure that the child's skin is not warm and moist, which reinforces the agonizing itching. Short fingernails minimize the risk of injury (and with it the danger of an additional infection by bacteria), because all is scratching often can not be avoided.
Chickenpox complications

In many cases, chickenpox heal without any problems. Before the first year and after 16 years However, the disease has a greater rate of complications, ie occur more diseases on, for example: a middle ear infection, pneumonia or bronchitis. Rare, but very serious neurological complications such as inflammation of the large - or cerebellum. Particularly vulnerable to very severe disease are:

• babies because their immune system is not yet mature
• Pregnant women, since chickenpox can infect the fetus
• People with weakened immune systems (for example, the chronically ill, the elderly)

Very serious complications are to be expected in children with disorders of the immune system or its suppression (eg, chemotherapy). As a life-threatening systemic disease with seizures and coma (so-called Reye's syndrome) may, for example, in these children are raised with chickenpox by administration of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, aspirin).

➤ chicken pox are dangerous for pregnant women Read our detail about it!
Protection by chickenpox vaccine

The chickenpox vaccine is a live vaccine. This means that an attenuated form of the pathogen is tipped that is not disease-inducing, but the formation of specific antibodies to stimulate. In order to achieve sufficient immunity, two vaccinations are necessary: ​​The primary vaccination is done at the age of eleven to 14 months, the second vaccination follows at a distance of at least four to six weeks - aged between 15 to 23 months.


In babies and children rashes are not uncommon. But what does the young, exactly? We give a little help.

In general, the chickenpox vaccine is well tolerated but side effects can still occur - as with any vaccine, too. Redness, swelling and pain at the injection site and increased temperature or low-grade fever among the normal accompaniments. More rarely, it may come after the chickenpox vaccine at very weakened chickenpox symptoms (mild fever, rash weak) after seven days to one month.

Since 2004, the STIKO recommends vaccination against chickenpox - before that time diseased per year, about 750,000 people from the infection. In 20015, there were only 23,000 cases. This is a significant decline, even if you already can not speak of extermination. In the United States, is vaccinated against chickenpox nationwide since 1995, the spread has fallen here already by 80%. To Good which is mainly the highly sensitive risk groups. The higher the vaccination rate is, the greater the protection of pregnant women, babies, chronically ill and the elderly through herd immunity. 

Chickenpox in the face

Chickenpox in the face

© iStock

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