Causes and Symptoms of Chicken Pox

Causes and Symptoms of Chicken Pox


By Dr Umesh AlegaonkarGeneral Physician

Chicken pox is a highly contagious viral infection characterised by painful and itchy red sores all over the body.


Chicken pox is caused by the virus ‘Varicella- zoster’ the virus spreads if you come in close proximity with an infected person. It spreads mainly through cough, saliva or through contact with the sores.

Children, pregnant women, new-born baby and the mother, people with weak immune system and adults who are not vaccinated against chicken pox have high chances of contracting the infection. Certain side effects and other complications include pneumonia, skin infections, dehydration and encephalitis (inflammation caused to the brain). Chances of contacting chicken pox reduce if you already have suffered from it once previously. Generally considered a mild disease, after diagnosis, the patient tends to improve within one or two weeks.


The symptoms of chicken pox appear within 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Appearance of sores throughout the body including the anus, the eyes and the mucous membranes.
  • High fever, severe headache and loss of appetite.
  • The sores are of 3 types: red bumpy sores, bumpy sores containing leaky fluid and sores which take time to heal. These 3 types of sores can occur simultaneously or in an irregular progression throughout the duration of the infection.

For people who suffer from further complications arising from chicken pox, a prescribed dosage of anti-viral drugs might be recommended. In general, application of lotion and taking hot-water baths might allow you to heal faster.