What is the difference between smallpox and chickenpox?

What are the signs and symptoms of chickenpox?

Signs of chickenpox are easy to see. Healthcare providers often can look at a child’s skin and know if he or she has chickenpox. Signs of chickenpox usually happen in the following order:

  • Fever.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Headache.
  • A stomachache that lasts for one or two days.
  • A skin rash that is very itchy and looks like many small blisters.
  • Bumps filled with a liquid that looks like milky water.
  • Scabs after the blisters break.
  • Skin that looks blotchy.
  • Spots that fade away.
  • person who sneezes or coughs.

Coming in contact with fluids from an infected child’s eyes, nose or mouth.

What is the difference between smallpox and chickenpox?

Chickenpox and smallpox are both diseases that produce rashes on the skin, but they are different. For one thing, smallpox is a much more serious disease, causing severe illness and death. They are caused by different viruses.

While the two diseases both produce rashes, the rashes themselves develop at different times and the rashes look different. Smallpox pustules look the same as each other, while the chickenpox rash develops in waves. The individual spots don’t look the same and some form scabs while others are still blistering.

There’s another important difference. A massive global vaccination program has eradicated (wiped out) smallpox.

How can I help my child with chickenpox?

Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and fluids. Chickenpox will go away on its own in a week or two. To help your child feel less itchy, you can:

Press a cool, moist rag on the rash.

Keep your child cool.

Encourage your child not to scratch. Trim their fingernails so they can’t scratch.

Put a lotion with antihistamines on the rash. These lotions are available at the drugstore. If you don’t know what to buy, ask the pharmacist for help.

Give your child an over-the-counter (OTC) form of antihistamine. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) and cetirizine (Zyrtec®) are two examples of OTC antihistamines.

Give your child a cool bath or shower every day. You can also give your child an oatmeal bath. When you’re drying them off, don’t rub with the towel. Pat your child dry.

Don’t give your child aspirin. Aspirin can harm children who have fevers. If your child needs a pain reliever, use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®). If you’re not sure what product to use, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

To prevent dehydration, give your child fluids. Cold fluids and a soft bland diet will help if they have mouth sores.

What if my baby gets chickenpox?

If your newborn baby (up to age 3 months) gets chickenpox, let your healthcare provider know right away. Chickenpox is more dangerous to newborns than to other healthy people.

What complications are possible with chickenpox?

Complications from chickenpox are unlikely, but possible. They may include:

  • Bacterial infections of the skin, blood, and soft tissues.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Becoming dehydrated.
  • Blood clotting or healing issues.
  • Liver problems.

Who is more likely to have complications from chickenpox?

Healthy people who get chickenpox don’t usually have complications. However, having a severe case of chickenpox could be more dangerous for very young babies, teenagers, pregnant people and people with immunity issues, such as transplant patients. This group also includes people with cancer or HIV or people being treated with chemotherapy or steroids.

Can chickenpox be fatal?

It’s very unlikely that you will die from chickenpox. Most people recover without complications. However, people have died from chickenpox. In the U.S., that number has dropped to about 20 people per year after mass vaccinations from some 100 deaths per year before vaccines were available. Hospitalizations decreased 84% from over 10,000 per year.

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