What are Chickenpox Blisters?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Chickenpox blisters are part of the rash that appears on the skin of a person who has been infected with the disease. The number of blisters varies from person to person. Also, the severity and number of both the blisters and the disease can depend on sex and age. Adults often experience a more severe form of chickenpox than children. Also, adult males often experience more severe symptoms than adult women. It is important to visit a doctor when experiencing chickenpox to get advice and any medications that may be indicated to help reduce the severity of the disease.

A boy with chickenpox.
A boy with chickenpox.

The blisters (also known as vesicles) themselves are, in fact, the "pox" associated with chickenpox. It usually takes a few days for an individual blister to burst, develop a crust, and begin to heal. They are often red in color and raised from the skin. They fill with a liquid that, much like other kinds of blisters in the skin, is either clear or a bit cloudy. This liquid seeps out of the blister when it bursts. At this point, when the fluid has leaked out of the vesicles, the pox will develop a scab and the skin will begin to clear up.

A girl with chickenpox.
A girl with chickenpox.

New vesicles may develop on the skin for about five to seven days while the infected person is recovering. In most cases, the blisters will heal without scarring the skin. If the blisters are scratched, however, or if they are disturbed after they have begun to crust over, then scarring may occur. This is much in the same way that a mild cut or abrasion to the skin will often heal without scarring, but not if the wound is reopened a number of times or if the scab is removed a number of times.

A parent should ask a pediatrician before giving their child any oral medications for chickenpox.
A parent should ask a pediatrician before giving their child any oral medications for chickenpox.

One of the hallmarks of chickenpox is itching on the skin and around the blisters. People who are experiencing this discomfort are advised not to scratch the scabs because, in addition to resulting in scarring, this can also cause additional infections in the skin. Doctors often recommend topical products that can be used to both heal the chickenpox blisters and help with the itching sensation. A doctor may also prescribe an oral antihistamine in order to help reduce the discomfort of itching. It is important not to take any such oral medicine without checking first with one's doctor or pediatrician.

Caused by the varicella zoster virus, chickenpox often causes an itchy rash to breakout on the face and body.
Caused by the varicella zoster virus, chickenpox often causes an itchy rash to breakout on the face and body.
Receiving vaccination against chickenpox may reduce an individual's chances of contracting the disease.
Receiving vaccination against chickenpox may reduce an individual's chances of contracting the disease.
It is important to visit a doctor when experiencing chickenpox.
It is important to visit a doctor when experiencing chickenpox.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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