Can you make the diagnosis?


Max is usually a happy two-year-old, but this morning his parents note he hasn’t eaten as much as usual, and he seems tired.  They put him down for an early nap.  When he wakes up several hours later, he feels feverish, and his mom sees that he has a rash:


What does Max have?

  1.  Allergic Reaction
  2.  Chickenpox
  3.  Measles
  4.  Bug bites



If you guessed 2.  Chickenpox, you are correct!

Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus.  It causes a rash with small, fluid-filled blisters.   The rash starts 10-21 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts for 5-10 days.  New bumps come on over several days, and then crust over. Chickenpox is also associated with fever, decreased appetite, headache, and fatigue.

Chickenpox is usually a mild disease.  In some cases it can have complications such as  bacterial infection of the skin, dehydration, or pneumonia.  Chickenpox can cause serious problems in women who are pregnant and people with immune system problems.  There is a vaccine that prevents 98% of chickenpox infections.

Allergic reactions can cause a rash, but it is usually looks like hives.  Measles rash is usually more patchy and red, and doesn’t have the white bump of chickenpox.  Bug bites usually have a central area that can be identified as an insect bite.


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