What Does a Chickenpox Rash Look Like During Different Stages?

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Chickenpox - Typical Early Lesion

This is a classic early chickenpox lesion—a vesicle on a red base also known as "a dew drop on a rose petal."

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Chickenpox - Typical Early Lesion

This is another example of a classic early chickenpox lesion—note that there are clusters of vesicles on a red base. These clusters usually come together after a couple of days to make one distinct lesion.

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Chickenpox - Typical Early Lesion

These chickenpox lesions are also in the early stage—around day three or four. Treatment options for chickenpox are limited. Unfortunately, it often just needs to run its course. That being said, the good news is that since widespread vaccination began in the mid-1990s the incidence of chickenpox and its complications have decreased dramatically.

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Chickenpox - Evolving Lesions

These early chickenpox lesions are evolving and starting to crust over. Note that the large central lesion (in the middle of the back) looks like it contains pus (a thick, yellow fluid). This is a sign of the chickenpox lesion and surrounding skin becoming infected with bacteria—called impetigo.

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Chickenpox - Evolving Lesions

Most of these chickenpox lesions have started to crust over. The crust develops from the center of the lesion and spreads out over the course of a day or two. In the early stages of crusting this rash may be confused with molluscum contagiosum, a common and benign rash in children.

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Chickenpox - Close-Up

This is a close-up of typical chickenpox lesions. Most are still vesicles (meaning they contain clear fluid) but some are pustular (meaning they contain a thick, yellow fluid). Some are also starting to crust over.

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Chickenpox - Day 6

This is day 6 of the chickenpox rash. Treatment options for chickenpox are limited, as it often just needs to run its course. That being said, there are special considerations for a pregnant woman with chickenpox because she and her unborn child are at a higher risk for certain complications.

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Chickenpox - Close-Up of Day 6

This is a close-up of day 6 of the chickenpox rash. In people with darker skin, chickenpox lesions may look more atypical. For example, some of these lesions look more papular (meaning they do not appear to contain any fluid) than vesicular.

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Chickenpox - On the Hand

Chickenpox can spread to areas of the body that are not usually affected with other infections, like the hands, feet, scalp, and mouth. Complications can occur if chickenpox lesions are present internally. The good news is that since widespread vaccination began in the mid-1990s, the incidence of chickenpox and its complications have gone down significantly.

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Chickenpox - In the Mouth

This is a picture of an early chickenpox lesion in the mouth. Notice that even though it is in the mouth, the lesion looks similar to the early lesion on the skin.

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Chickenpox - In the Mouth

This is another picture of a chickenpox lesion in the mouth. Unfortunately these ulcers can be very painful making it difficult to eat or drink. The chickenpox vaccine can help reduce this complication and others.

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Chickenpox - Electronmicrograph of Varicella Virus

This is an electronmicrograph picture of the varicella virus that causes chicken pox. Treatment options for chicken pox are limited. Unfortunately, it often just needs to run its course.

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Chickenpox - Photomicrograph of Infected Cells

This is a photomicrograph picture of cells infected by the varicella virus, causing chickenpox.

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Chickenpox - Electronmicrograph of Varicella Virions

This is an electron micrograph picture of multiple varicella virions, which are virus particles that infect skin cells, causing chickenpox.

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Chickenpox - Infected Lesion on Face

This is a picture of a chickenpox lesion that has become infected with bacteria, as evidenced by the thick, yellow pus surrounding the vesicle. Complications of chickenpox include impetigo, furuncles, erysipelas, and lymphadenitis.

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