Skip to main content

Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster)

Andrew J. Richardson, MD Reviewed 06/2019
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • Common, highly contagious, generalized exanthem characterized by crops of pruritic vesicles on the skin and mucous membranes following exposure to varicella-zoster virus (VZV)

  • VZV is ...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

  • Prodromal symptoms: fever, malaise, anorexia, mild headache

  • Malaise, muscle aches, arthralgias, and headache are more common in adults.

  • Subclinical in ~4% of cases

  • Characteristic rash

PHYSICAL EXAM

TREATMENT

Generally outpatient, except for complicated cases 

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Supportive/symptomatic treatment

  • Antihistamines and/or oatmeal baths for itch

  • Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen for pain and fev...

ONGOING CARE

FOLLOW-UP RECOMMENDATIONS

Patient Monitoring

  • Not needed in mild cases. Intensive supportive care may be required in the setting of complications.

  • Activity as tolerated. Children may return t...

REFERENCES

1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of notifiable diseases: United States, 2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.  2011;58(53):1–100. [View Abstract on OvidMedline]
2
Centers ...

ADDITIONAL READING

  • Dooling KL, Guo A, Patel M, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for use of herpes zoster vaccines. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.  2018;67(3)...

CODES

ICD10

  • B01.9 Varicella without complication

  • B02.9 Zoster without complications

  • P35.8 Other congenital viral diseases

  • Z20.820 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to varicella

ICD9

  • 052.9 Varicella with...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • Varicella zoster infection is more likely to produce serious illness in adults than in children.

  • Introduction of the varicella vaccine has reduced morbidity and mortality. Currently, 2 ...

Subscribe to Access Full Content

Sign Up for a 10-Day Free Trial

Sign up for a 10-day FREE Trial now and receive full access to all content.

 
×