Chickenpox is a highly contagious childhood infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. The condition causes a very itchy, blistery rash and usually a fever. The chickenpox virus spreads through the air, such as when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and by direct contact. Chickenpox once was very common, but the number of those infected has significantly dropped since the development of a vaccine to prevent the infection. Being exposed to the chickenpox virus also raises your risk for a painful condition called shingles later in life. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how chickenpox is contracted, what it looks like, how to treat it, and much more.
What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia?
Some people have a lingering pain even after their shingles rash is gone. That could be a condition called postherpetic neuralgia. Find out more about what causes it and who might be more prone to get it.
Shingles is a rash with shooting pain. It usually shows up on just one side of your body. Learn more about shingles symptoms, causes, contagiousness, vaccine, diagnosis, and treatment.
The Basics of Shingles
Get the basics about shingles and its causes from the experts at WebMD.
Chicken Pox: Contagiousness, Who Gets It, and How It Spreads
Chickenpox is caused by the contagious varicella virus and mainly affects children. It’s easy to spot because of its red, itchy rash, mild fever, and body aches.
Slideshows & Images
Picture of Shingles Blisters
The cluster of blisters that form with shingles fill with fluid, pop, then start to ooze. Eventually the affected areas crust over and heal like the rash shown here.
Shingles Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Caused by the same virus behind chickenpox, shingles is a painful nerve root infection resulting in a skin rash. What does the shingles rash looks like? Who’s at risk? And who needs the shingles vaccine? Get your questions answered here.
Images of Childhood Skin Problems
Hives, ringworm, warts: just a few skin conditions often seen in babies and children. How can you recognize these common childhood conditions -- and is home treatment possible?
Picture of Varicella-Zoster Virus Infection on Chest Wall
Varicella-zoster virus infection: herpes zoster in T8 to T10 dermatomes. Typical grouped vesicles and pustules with erythema and edema of three contiguous thoracic dermatomes on the posterior chest wall.