The symptoms of chickenpox are a rash and other flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, loss of appetite and fatigue, according to Mayo Clinic. The chickenpox rash consists of three phases of symptoms. First, red bumps called papules form on the surface of the skin. Then, fluid-filled blisters called vesicles form on the papules, which burst and leak after about a day. Finally, scabbed and crusty lesions form in the place of broken blisters.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is very contagious and is transmitted by touching or breathing in viral particles, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who have been infected with chickenpox as children or those who have been vaccinated are unlikely to develop the disease.
For most people infected with chickenpox, there are no serious medical complications, according to the CDC. People with the highest risk for developing serious complications from this disease include babies, adults who have never been exposed before, HIV/AIDS patients and other people with compromised immune systems. Life-threatening complications of chickenpox are dehydration, pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, bloodstream infection and toxic shock syndrome.
Women who are pregnant should avoid contact with people infected with chickenpox because exposure to the varicella virus early in pregnancy can lead to newborns with low birth rate or birth defects, reports Mayo Clinic.