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japedsmd
japedsmd, Board Certified Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience:  In private practice over 15 years
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how can i distinguish the difference between chicken pox, hives,

Customer Question

how can i distinguish the difference between chicken pox, hives, and shingles? My son has rashes all over his body and i dont know which one it is?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  japedsmd replied 2 years ago.

japedsmd :

Hi I think I can answer your question but I may need some extra information. Can I ask you a few questions?

japedsmd :

Shingles and chicken pox are caused by the same virus. Shingles represent a re-activation of an old chicken-pox infection. Due to the where the virus stays during its dormant period, shingles should only be on half of the body (right/left) and are typically limited to a few levels of the nerves as they exit the spinal cord. Shingles tend to be painful to very painful while chicken pox maybe itchy they typically aren't painful. Usually chicken pox lesions come in waves with a new set cropping up every 24 hours for a few days. Usually the outbreak starts near the hairline and moves down the body. The lesions from chicken pox are classically described as a small blister on a red base, crusting over in a day or two to look like a scab.

Customer :

?

japedsmd :

If your child has received the chicken pox vaccine the lesions won't always look like the text book lesions but are hopefully more limited than a case in a patient who has not received the vaccine.

Customer :

it doesnt sound like chicken pox so what else could it be?

japedsmd :

So what does his rash look like? Can you describe it?

Customer :

yesterday they looked like individual bumps but this morning they look like little islands all over his arms hip and legs. Like a collection of rashes

japedsmd :

are they red and raised above the normal skin surface? Any fever or other symptoms?

Customer :

he had the fever 3 days ago and was vomiting yesterday morning, when it appeared that he was better thats when the rashes appeared. Yes they are red and partially above the surface

japedsmd :

Is it causing pain or itching? and no fever now? what size are the individual raised areas? any way you can post a photo?

Customer :

yes just a minute

japedsmd :

I'll type on

Customer :

im going to upload the pictures now

japedsmd :

Great

Customer :

he says it itches, and it burns when we put the itch spray on it, so i dont know if its the itch spray just working

japedsmd :

Many viral illnesses come with rashes. The classic one for causing a rash after the fever goes away is rubeola. Typical rash is small raised red bumps without blister/fluid and usually all over the body. 5th disease may cause some upper respiratory symptoms before the appearance of a bright red rash on the face (so called "slapped cheeks") and then the appearance of a finer lacy rash on the arms and torso. Neither of these rashes are especially itchy though.

Customer :

does it matter that his baby sister and mother had the same virus 3 days prior without any sign of rashes?

japedsmd :

While each individual can have different manifestations of the same viral infection, yeah, I'm a little surprised the baby didn't have a rash too given how sensitive/reactive their skin tends to be.

japedsmd :

So what is in the itch relief spray?

Customer :

thank you for your advice but his rashes are itchy according to him

japedsmd :

Hives should be raised/red fairly large areas and tend to itch a great deal. They may be seen after a viral infection but are more common after ingesting something which triggers an allergic reaction. They may come and go for several days and are temporarily relieved with benadryl.

japedsmd :

If you can post a photo that would be helpful. I'll switch to Q&A format and check back throughout the day.

Expert:  japedsmd replied 2 years ago.
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