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Previously, about 3 1/2 million people would contract chicken pox each year, but with the introduction of a vaccine this infection is much less common today. The highly contagious illness is most common among children between ages one and nine. Adolescents and adults are usually immune because of childhood infection, but usually have more difficulty with chicken pox if they contract it.

A widespread rash, beginning on the truck and spreading to the arms, face and scalp, is the most prominent symptom. The rash begins as a crop of small red spots, which quickly become raised, fluid filled blisters. These blisters then break and form yellowish scabs. As the initial rash crusts over, new spots appear. At the height of the illness, spots, blisters, and scabs are all present on the skin. Once all the blisters have crusted over, usually seven days after the first breakout, the disease is no longer contagious.

Chicken pox travels from child to child via airborne viral particles shed from the respiratory passages and blisters. After it enters a child’s system, the virus incubates for 14 to 21 days before the rash appears. For 24 hours before the rash appears the disease is contagious, so it is not always possible to avoid exposure.

Treatment

Possible Complications

Chicken Pox Vaccine

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