Chickenpox (Varicella) - Exams and Tests
Chickenpox (varicella) usually can be diagnosed by the
appearance of the
chickenpox rash . For healthy children, describing the
rash over the phone to a doctor (rather than visiting the office)
may be all that is needed.
But some people need to see a doctor when symptoms of chickenpox appear. You are at more risk for
complications from chickenpox if you are a teenager, adult (especially if you
smoke cigarettes or have a long-term lung disease), or a pregnant woman, or you
impaired immune system.
At the doctor's office, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions.
can determine whether you are
immune to the virus and are unlikely to get
or have chickenpox.
If you have a blistering rash and it's not known if
it was caused by the chickenpox virus, other tests can be done.
woman who has chickenpox early in her pregnancy may want to have her
fetus checked for birth defects. This can be done with
Find out if you are immune
Some people may be required to be tested for chickenpox
immunity. These include people who work in hospitals, day care centers,
schools, and other areas where chickenpox can easily be passed from one person
to another. Many states require that children entering day care and school
chickenpox vaccine(What is a PDF document?) unless they have a doctor's diagnosis or blood test results
that prove immunity.
If you are more likely to get severely ill
from chickenpox or to have
complications of chickenpox, you may want testing to confirm whether you have ever had chickenpox and have immunity
against it. These people include:
- People with impaired immune systems.
- Women who are
able to have children and have never had chickenpox. Women who are pregnant or who want to become pregnant
should consider being tested to see whether they have chickenpox immunity.
Having chickenpox immunity prevents
complications of chickenpox during pregnancy.
If you have never had chickenpox and therefore do not
have immunity against it, you may choose to get the chickenpox vaccine. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of