What Part of the Body Does Chickenpox Affect?

part-body-chickenpox-affect Credit: Linda O'Brien Photography/Moment/Getty Images

Chickenpox normally affects the head, chest and back first, and the rash can then spread to the rest of the body, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can even affect the eyelids, mouth and genitals.

The CDC explains that chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is a highly contagious disease that spreads via coughing and sneezing. The condition is characterized by an itchy rash consisting of fluid-filled blisters that turn into scabs within approximately one week. Additional symptoms that may appear a day or two before the rash include headache, fatigue, fever and loss of appetite. Certain people may experience more severe symptoms than others, and those who have already had the disease are not at risk of catching it again. The CDC states that the illness generally lasts between five and 10 days.

One of the best ways to prevent chickenpox is to receive the vaccine, according to the CDC. Although people with the vaccine can still get chickenpox, approximately 70 to 85 percent of them experience symptoms that are not as severe as symptoms affecting those without the vaccine. Before the chickenpox vaccine was created, the disease affected roughly 4 million people per year in the United States leading to 100 to 150 annual fatalities.