Toddler Chicken Pox Symptoms

Toddler Chicken Pox Symptomsthumbnail
A toddler with chicken pox sits on her mother's lap. (Photo: s-dmit/iStock/Getty Images)

Chicken pox is a very contagious illness caused by the varicella zoster virus. Transmission occurs through contact with someone who has a chicken pox rash or shingles outbreak. Severe cases and complications such as encephalitis are rare, but you should contact your toddler's doctor if you're concerned.

Time Frame

A close-up of a boy with a chicken pox rash on his face and neck. (Photo: Maxime Tremblay/iStock/Getty Images)

After a toddler has been exposed to the chicken pox virus, it usually takes between 10 and 21 days for symptoms to appear. The illness lasts for about a week.

Initial Symptoms

A little girl lays on a bed pillow with her teddy bear. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

The first signs of chicken pox include decreased appetite, a low-grade fever and fatigue. These symptoms might initially be mild and go unnoticed by parents. There can also be a headache and runny nose.


A girl with chicken pox colors at the kitchen table. (Photo: bojan fatur/iStock/Getty Images)

The telltale chicken pox rash starts on the head and trunk, then spreads to the arms and legs. There are small red spots that are itchy. They develop blisters and break open.


A toddler with chicken pox soaks in the bath tub. (Photo: Dagmara Ponikiewska/iStock/Getty Images)

Toddlers can be made more comfortable by taking acetaminophen for the fever. Baths and loose clothing might relieve itchiness. Keep fingernails short to reduce scratching, which can cause infection and scarring.


A nurse administers a vaccine to a young girl in a docter's office. (Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

The Varivax vaccine is routinely given to young toddlers at doctor appointments unless parents specifically refuse it. This vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of chicken pox.

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