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How do I know my child’s rash is chickenpox?

Chickenpox rash usually begins on the chest, tummy, or back as small pink or red bumps that blister.

Now that most children receive the chickenpox vaccine, we see fewer and fewer cases of chickenpox. Your child should receive the first dose of vaccine sometime after the first birthday and a second dose after the fourth birthday. Nevertheless, we do occasionally see an infant or child with chickenpox.

In general, the rash of chickenpox begins on the chest, tummy, or back. The rash begins as a pink or red bump that turns into a little blister on a red base within a few days. The blisters then deflate and become somewhat crusty looking as they heal. The thing that sets chickenpox apart from other things that cause blisters (such as ant bites) is that the little spots will appear in all stages, some new, some blisters, some drying, AND your child will be sick with fever. While it is worth confirming the diagnosis with your doctor, if this is noted during the night and your child is not terribly ill, there is no need to go to the emergency room.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019

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