Does My Son Have Chickenpox?

Updated on January 05, 2008
J.P. asks from Tulsa, OK
11 answers

I'm not sure if what my 1 yr old son has is chickenpox and I can't get in with a doctor today to get it checked out--and don't even know if it's worth getting checked out. What does the beginning of the pox look like? He had a fever a couple days ago, is a little irritable, but he is sleeping and eating still. He has little pink spots/bumps on his belly, back and neck and a little in his diaper area. They're not filled with liquid but this could be the beginning. Is there a way to tell for sure? And if he has it and doesn't go to the doctor, is there anything specific I should start doing? I've heard about calamine lotion on the skin, baking soda or oatmeal in baths and tylenol for the discomfort. Can anyone help me?

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So What Happened?

Well, the rash never turned into chickenpox. It could have been a heat rash because the spots are fading and he didn't have any other symptoms. Thank you for all your suggestions and research. It's so nice to have a group of women who care about your needs as a mom.

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answers from Rockford on

If they look like zits kind of they are probably what is called a viral infection. My son had a rash that was barely noticeable but had zit like appearance but very lightly so I asked the doctor about it and she said it was probably just a viral infection and it was nothing to worry about.

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answers from St. Louis on

If you call the doctor with suspected chicken pox, they will tell you NOT to bring him in b/c of the chance of infecting an office full of already sick kids. I had another mom whose kids had chicken pox despite the vaccine come see, because they don't look as bad and can be brushed off as not "the real thing"-- but are still a danger to pregnant women, the elderly, and children with no vaccine or lowered immunity from illness. If your child hasn't been vaccinated, it might get pretty bad (see earlier posts). Pox despite vaccination is often an itchy quarentine in your house with something that looks like a rash. Do you know another mom who can eyeball? :)



answers from Kansas City on

chicken pox looks like a pimple with a white head and it generally starts out on the tummy. Aveno makes an oatmeal bath that works great, I used it when my daughter had them.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.,
Go to and click on search by symptom. This will give you a flow chart, you want the one for rash. Just read each block and match his symptoms for a close diagnosis. If it is chickenpox they are contagious until the little blisters burst and scab over, about 2 weeks. Oatmeal baths and benadryl if the dr okays it. My son had it when he was 14 months old and I gave him at least 5 Aveeno baths a day. He played in the tub and I guess it kept him distracted because he rarely scratched or cried. Good Luck!

A little about me:
I had 3 babies under age 2, identical twin girls born Jan 1 98, my son's 2nd birthday was Feb 1st that year. I am blessed with a great husband.


answers from Kansas City on

Chicken pox blisters right away. If they don't have blisters I don't believe they are chicken pox spots.




answers from St. Louis on

There's no mistaking chicken pox. This is one childhood illness that's easy to spot!
Unless your child is vaccinated against chicken pox, it's almost guaranteed that at some point he or she will come down with this common childhood illness. Fortunately, chicken pox (or varicella) is short lived, lasting about a week. Chicken pox is spread through airborne droplets and is extremely contagious, occurring in about 85% of children under twelve. The good news is that while it is extremely contagious, once children have chicken pox they are immune for life.

How do you know your child has chicken pox? "The first thing the parent sees is the rash," explains infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Ron Gold. "The rash often starts on the face or body and then may spread out onto the arms or legs. It's a very typical rash that doesn't look like anything else. It's a little blister with redness around the base of it. Unfortunately for the child it bothers them more than other rashes because it's very itchy." Other symptoms include fever, runny nose, fatigue, and decreased appetite.

Acetaminophen may help a child feel more comfortable and reduce the fever. But never give a child A-S-A, such as aspirin, as there is a link between it and the sometimes fatal, Reye's syndrome. Dr. Gold suggests that baths can be of great help and that "some children prefer cool water to relieve the itching with starch in it. Some prefer it to be hot so it's worth experimenting."

As for complications, Gold says, "in young children, the most common complication is an infection from scratching the pox. You can't usually stop young ones from scratching, but you can keep their fingernails short so that they don't cause any damage."

Although rare, chicken pox can have more serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis. If you're concerned that your child's illness is taking a turn for the worse, contact your child's doctor, but do so by phone so as to avoid exposing those children and adults with low immune systems to the virus. And if your child is an adolescent when exposed contact your doctor, as serious illness is more common in older children and adults.

Finally, although not widely used, there is a chicken pox vaccine now available. For more information about it, talk to your child's doctor.



answers from St. Louis on

You could go to and type in chicken pox and they should have the answers you are looking for.



answers from St. Louis on

Sounds like it might be Roseola. If it is, then it's a virus, so it needs to just run it's course. Check it out on WebMD. My daughter had it when she was almost 1 and it worked out fine for us. Might be a good idea to call the MD back or take him to Pediatric Urgent care if you can't see his regular doctor, though, just to be on the safe side. Hope this helps.



answers from Wichita on

have you tried putting him in a luke warm bath to see if they spread? if not, try that. i have been told that if the spots spread in the bath then it is chicken pox. good luck, R.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Hey J.

This is just a guess, but it sounds like roseola to me. With roseola a child has a fever for a few days and then a rash breaks out just about as soon as the fever ends. I don't know exact details but roseola may be worth looking up on webmd or asking your ped about.

Good luck


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