The most common symptom of chickenpox is the telltale rash of extremely itchy, pus-filled blisters, which are sometimes preceded by fever and malaise, explains Mayo Clinic. The preceding symptoms typically appear one to two days before blisters appear.
Initial chickenpox symptoms appear 10 to 21 days after exposure, notes MedlinePlus. Those with chickenpox commonly experience a headache or stomach upset during the two days before a rash appears, and fever may also occur during this period. These symptoms are generally milder in children vaccinated against chickenpox and more severe in adults who develop the disease.
A general feeling of being unwell is another symptom of chickenpox, and this malaise typically occurs during the two days before the rash appears, reports Mayo Clinic. The rash develops in three stages, starting with the initial stage of bumps that are red or pink. These bumps appear over several days and eventually fill with pus during the second stage. The last stage involves the blisters crusting over and forming scabs. New blisters form throughout the illness, so a person can have blisters in all three stages at a given point during the outbreak.
Chickenpox is generally not a cause for concern unless symptoms become severe, according to Mayo Clinic. Those with chickenpox blisters in one or both eyes or evidence of a secondary bacterial infection should consult a doctor immediately. Symptoms such as fever above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, shortness of breath, stiff neck and vomiting also require immediate medical attention.