Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Vaccines Health Center

Font Size

Chickenpox and Smallpox Rash Comparison


Source: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Differences between chickenpox and smallpox

Chickenpox Smallpox
How initial symptoms differ

0 to 2 days of mild illness pass before the rash develops.

2 to 3 days of severe illness pass before the rash develops.

Lesions first appear on the face or trunk.

Lesions first appear in the throat or mouth, then on the face, or on the upper arms.

How the rash lesions differ

Lesions develop in successive fashion. While some are new, others are crusting over (in "crops").

Lesions develop at the same time, and they look alike on any one section of the body, such as the abdomen, arms, or face.

Lesions change rapidly, crusting over within 24 hours.

Lesions change slowly, scabbing over after 9 to 15 days.

Lesions sit on the skin surface and look like small blisters.

Lesions become firm, dome-shaped, and deep in the skin.

Rash rarely develops on palms and soles.

Rash commonly develops on palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Lesions are most concentrated on the torso, with fewest on the hands and feet. Lesions can affect the face and scalp, but rarely affect the entire body equally.

Lesions are most concentrated on the face, hands, and feet.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Baby getting vaccinated
Is there a link? Get the facts.
syringes and graph illustration
Get a customized vaccine schedule.
baby getting a vaccine
Know the benefits and the risk
nurse holding syringe in front of girl
Should your child have it?

What To Know About The HPV Vaccine
24 Kid Illnesses Parents Should Know
Nausea and Vomiting Remedies Slideshow
Managing Immunization Schedules For Kids

Doctor administering vaccine to toddler
gloved hand holding syringe
infant receiving injection

WebMD Special Sections