Why do people get chickenpox


Sick people initially feel slightly ill for 1 to 2 days and occasionally have a fever. Then the typical rash appears, the fever can rarely exceed 39 ° C. The very itchy rash spreads from the head and torso all over the body. Fluid-filled vesicles quickly form, which can also affect the mucous membranes, genitals and scalp. They later dry out to form crusts. All stages of the rash typically appear at the same time. The vesicles themselves usually heal after 3 to 5 days. However, severe scratching or additional bacterial infection of the skin can leave scars. Severe courses occur mainly in newborns or people with a weakened immune system, but they are also possible in otherwise healthy people.

Possible complications

  • Additional bacterial infections of the skin are possible.
  • Pneumonia is feared. It occurs in about one in five adults, usually starts 3 to 5 days after the onset of the disease, and can be severe. Pregnant women are particularly at risk.
  • The central nervous system is rarely affected: imbalance and irritation of the meninges are possible consequences.


During pregnancy

  • Chickenpox can rarely lead to skin changes, eye damage, severe malformations and neurological diseases in the child in the first 6 months of pregnancy.
  • If the pregnant woman falls ill around the due date, a chickenpox infection can be life-threatening for the child. Up to 30% of children die.

Typically, fluid-filled vesicles appear. They redden, swell and hurt. Mostly they are limited to a section of skin on one half of the body, usually belt-shaped on the trunk, more rarely on the head or neck. After 1 to 2 weeks, the blisters heal with crust formation. Usually the pain goes away with the rash. However, the pain can persist even after healing, sometimes for years. Possible but rare complications are inflammation of the nerves or the brain.