Symptoms & Stages of Chickenpox: a Guide for Adults & Children

Symptoms & Stages of Chickenpox: a Guide for Adults & Children

Published: 15th August, 2022 in: Health Advice

While chickenpox isn't as common as it used to be, it can still cause very serious complications for children and adults. Taking time to understand what chickenpox is, how to treat it, and what to look out for can make it easier to deal with.

What is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a common infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. You can catch chickenpox at any age, but it is most common among children under 10 years old due to their still-developing immune systems. Chickenpox is also more common in adults who have a weakened immune system due to an illness or immunosuppressive medications, HIV/AIDS or cancer, transplants, or chemotherapy as these can make people more vulnerable to the virus.

There is a high level of contagiousness associated with chickenpox that is easily transmitted when a person comes into proximity to someone who has the virus, however, it will only be able to infect you if your body hasn’t had the chickenpox virus before. The virus is also easily spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface. 

Chickenpox is most common during the spring, but it can occur at any time of year.

Chickenpox Signs & Symptoms 

Signs of chickenpox and chickenpox symptoms are quite easily recognisable with an itchy rash being the most common. This rash will eventually turn into fluid-filled blisters that then turn into scabs when the virus starts to subside.

Other symptoms and earlier signs of chickenpox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness & fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache that lasts 1-2 days

Stages of Chickenpox

There are three stages to chickenpox when it infects the body:

Stage one: Small rash-like bumps begin to appear on the body. This includes inside the mouth and around the genitals.

Stage two: The spots become filled with fluid, forming into blisters.

Stage three: The blisters start to become scabs. This means the chickenpox virus is beginning to subside.


Although chickenpox isn’t a serious illness for most people, it can have some severe complications for a small minority. Those with weakened immune systems, pregnant, or of an old age (over 65) who catch chickenpox can have a more alarming reaction to the virus. Infants and newborns are also among those who can experience a more serious reaction to chickenpox.

Serious complications include:

  • Bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children
  • Infection of the lungs (pneumonia)
  • Infection or swelling of the brain
  • Bleeding problems
  • Bloodstream infections (sepsis)
  • Dehydration

Rare cases of chickenpox can hospitalise people. Very rare cases can cause death. However, due to the vaccine program, it is highly unlikely.

In the event that you have had chickenpox, you will carry the varicella-zoster virus for the rest of your life, but there is nothing to worry about as no symptoms will arise, and no harm is done to you as a result. 

In some extremely rare cases, however, the virus can be reactivated as we age, which can cause shingles. This will cause a rash on the body and nerve pain. If you haven't already had chickenpox, you can catch it from someone with shingles, but not the other way around.

How Long Does Chickenpox Last?

The chickenpox virus lasts anywhere between four and seven days once the blisters have turned into scabs on the body.

Chickenpox can be spread from two days before the rash starts to appear on the body until the blisters become scabs (five to seven days after the start of the rash).

Book in for the Chickenpox Vaccine

Weldricks Pharmacy is proud to be offering the chickenpox vaccine, which can ensure you or your family and children are free from risk and fully protected from contracting the virus. The vaccine offers protection for those who may suffer from weakened immune systems or those with other conditions that would mean chickenpox is more dangerous for them to contract.  

Purchase Chickenpox Relief Products from Weldricks Pharmacy

Weldricks Pharmacy stocks a range of chickenpox relief products designed to relieve symptoms like itching and redness. You can purchase these directly from our website or visit our pharmacies. 

Contact Weldricks Pharmacy today if you have any enquiries related to chickenpox, and our team of advisors will be happy to assist you and answer any queries.