|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Signs of Chickenpox

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: My child is 24 months old and at child care has been exposed to the chickenpox. I have noticed for a few days that she has red bumps only on her legs -- is it possible for chickenpox to start on the legs first?

A: Chickenpox has been studied extensively over time. Chickenpox always begins on the chest, abdomen, or back if it is naturally acquired and the patient has not been immunized. The rash begins 10 to 21 days after the exposure and clearly follows a characteristic pattern. Remember chickenpox begins as red bumps which quickly become fluid-filled bumps in the first couple of days, and then crust over within a week. You will, therefore, know over a 24-48 hour period whether, in fact, it is chickenpox. It is easy to confuse chicken pox with insect bites, a reaction of the skin to something it came in contact with, or other causes of rash. Bumps on exposed areas of the body, such as the extremities, thus makes the diagnosis unlikely in this case. If there is any question about the rash, I would contact your child's physician. Otherwise, I would treat supportively -- trimming their nails so that they do not scratch it and become infected. Use small amounts of benadryl by mouth for any uncomfortable itching, and watch for the spread or the development of other symptoms.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.