NHS Service

How Long Does Chickenpox Last? Understanding the Duration and Stages of the Virus

chickenpox vaccination in Streatham

Have you ever thought about where chickenpox got its name? One of theory is that the disease got its name because the rash looks like marks left by chicken bites. Another stems from the old English word for itchy, “icchen.” Perhaps, over time, the icchen turned into “chicken.”

Wherever it got its name, chickenpox is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. Its most well-known symptom is a red, itchy rash that can appear on the face, chest and back.

Chickenpox Symptoms and Stages

The red, itchy rash caused by a chickenpox infection usually appears within 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus. The rash will last between 5 to 10 days, going through 3 stages.

  • The first phase of the rash causes raised pink or red bumps called papules to break out on the skin. This happens over the course of several days.
  • During the second phase, the rash will turn into small fluid filled blisters. They take about a day to form and will then break open and ooze.
  • The third and final stage sees the blisters crust and scab over. These will take the longest to heal.

Because the first stage happens over several days, it’s common for the rash to go through all three stages at once. This means that someone with chickenpox can have papules, blisters, and scabs at the same time.

Other Symptoms of Chickenpox

The rash isn’t the only symptom associated with chickenpox. People infected often report flu-like symptoms that start a day or two before the rash develops. These symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • A general feeling of being unwell

Preventing and Treating Chickenpox

Traditionally, chickenpox was a disease associated with childhood. Infections are usually mild in otherwise healthy children. However, now that the effective vaccine has been available for several years, chickenpox infections are far less prevalent than they used to be.

Chickenpox can be far more serious in older children and adults. This risk is heightened for people with lowered immune systems, pregnant women, and the elderly. If you or your loved ones haven’t had the chickenpox, you can get effective chickenpox vaccination in Streatham, Northampton, and Ramsgate from Touchwood Pharmacy. We also offer convenient appointments for chickenpox vaccination in Sydenham, Ramsgate, and Northolt.