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Chickenpox Test

This test measures the level of IgG antibodies in the blood produced by your immune system's response to VZV.

Collection method

Typically blood (venipuncture)

Test preparation



Ages 18+ only; Could vary by provider

Turnaround time

Typically 48-72 hours

Book a chickenpox test near you

How is chickenpox diagnosed?

A doctor can often diagnose chickenpox just by looking for a classic symptom—a specific itchy rash, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, however, a doctor may perform additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.

What tests are available for chickenpox?

The common tests used to diagnose chickenpox are swab tests and blood tests.

For a swab test, a swab is taken from a blister or scab to look for the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. Blood tests are used by taking a sample of blood and checking it for antibodies to the virus. This type of test can indicate a current or past infection, according to the CDC.

Should I get tested for chickenpox?

If you have never had chickenpox and have been exposed to someone with the virus, you may want to consider getting tested. Testing can determine if you are immune to the virus (from either a childhood infection or vaccine), or if you are currently infected with the virus.

Another reason to consider getting tested is if you have symptoms that could be caused by chickenpox. Common symptoms include an itchy rash and fever.

When should my child be tested for chickenpox?

There are two scenarios that the CDC outlines as being the best time to consider getting your child tested for chickenpox. Those scenarios are:

  • After being exposed to someone who has a confirmed case of the chickenpox
  • Experiencing the symptoms of chickenpox (itchy rash and fever)

Getting tested for chickenpox is especially important if your child has not been previously vaccinated for the virus.

Can chickenpox be diagnosed without testing?

Yes, many medical providers feel comfortable diagnosing chickenpox with a physical exam. This is because the virus has a distinct itchy rash and fever that is common in almost all cases, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What to expect when getting tested for chickenpox

There are two ways to get tested for chickenpox.

Swab testing for chickenpox

Getting tested for chickenpox with swab testing requires a medical professional to swab a chickenpox blister with a cotton-tipped swab. This swab is then sent to a laboratory for testing.

Blood testing for chickenpox

Getting tested for chickenpox with a blood test requires a venipuncture procedure. This procedure consists of a medical professional using a needle to take a small sample of blood from a vein in your arm or hand.

What happens when I or my child test positive for chickenpox?

If you or your child test positive for chickenpox, your doctor will advise you on the next steps for treatment. Treatment usually consists of supportive care to manage symptoms and observation for any complications, according to the CDC.

Finding a test for chickenpox

Chickenpox testing can be done at most medical facilities, including:

Can I get tested for chickenpox at home?

There is no at-home test for Chickenpox—although this may change in the future thanks to medical advancements. Currently, the best way to know if you or your child has chickenpox is to be evaluated by a doctor.

Cost of chickenpox testing

The cost of chickenpox testing will vary depending on your location, testing facility, and insurance coverage. The average cost of chickenpox testing in the United States is between $85 and $129 according to

More about chickenpox

What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox, which is also known as “varicella”, is a highly contagious viral illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus.

It was a common childhood illness until an effective vaccine was FDA-approved in 1995. Annual cases have been on a decline ever since, according to the CDC.

Chickenpox causes an itchy rash and red spots or blisters that can appear all over the body, along with fever and fatigue.

Most people who get chickenpox recover without any complications, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, the illness can be more serious in adults, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, chickenpox can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, or bacterial infections of the skin.

How is chickenpox transmitted?

The chickenpox virus spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by direct contact with the fluid from a chickenpox blister, according to the CDC. Symptoms usually appear within 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus and can last for several weeks.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

The symptoms of chickenpox usually appear 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus and can last for anywhere from a few days to several weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic also lists the most common symptoms as:

  • Itchy rash with raised, red bumps or blisters
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Other, less common symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches

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Reviewed by physicians

Reviewed by physicians

Board-certified physicians review your results before you receive them.

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Chickenpox Testing FAQs

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about lab tests.

The accuracy of chickenpox tests depends on the type of test used. Swab tests are highly accurate according to the CDC. This is because these tests detect the presence of the varicella-zoster virus.Blood tests, which look for antibodies to the virus, can also be used to diagnose chickenpox. However, these tests may be less accurate in the early stages of the illness when antibodies may not yet be present.Additionally, blood tests for chickenpox can produce false positive results if a person has been vaccinated against chickenpox or has had a previous infection with the virus.
Yes, chickenpox can be misdiagnosed—especially in its early stages when the symptoms may not be fully developed. There are also other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, according to the CDC. Some of these conditions include:Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infectionImpetigoScabiesAllergic reactionsEczemaInsect bitesIn addition, some people may have atypical or mild symptoms that can be difficult to diagnose.It's important to seek medical attention if you have any concerning symptoms.
Yes, adults can get chickenpox if they never had it as a child and were never vaccinated against it. Additionally, adults who had chickenpox as a child can experience a resurgence of the virus. This resurgence is a condition called shingles.
Shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus (the varicella-zoster virus), but they are not the same thing.Chickenpox is a viral infection that is more common in children and causes an itchy rash and fever, according to the CDC. After a person has recovered from chickenpox, the virus can remain dormant in nerve tissues for years or even decades.Shingles occur when the varicella-zoster virus reactivates in the body. This usually happens in people over 50 or those with weakened immune systems, according to the Mayo Clinic. Shingles cause painful rashes or blisters that appear on one side of the body and can also cause fever, headache, and fatigue.While shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus, they have different symptoms and recommended treatments. It is important to note that shingles are not contagious, but they can cause chickenpox in people who have not had the disease or been vaccinated against it.
The time it takes for chickenpox test results to come back depends on the type of test that is being performed. Your medical provider can give you more information on when to expect your results.
Yes, there is a vaccine for chickenpox. The chickenpox vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent the disease.The current FDA-approved vaccine contains a weakened form of the varicella-zoster virus. This stimulates the body to produce antibodies against the virus, according to the CDC. These antibodies provide protection against chickenpox and can prevent the disease or make it milder if a vaccinated person does get infected.The vaccine is currently recommended for all children, adolescents, and adults who have not had chickenpox before.

This publication is not intended to solicit the purchase of laboratory testing from any individual consumer.

Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD

Updated on Jan 25, 2023

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD

Dr. Rob Rohatsch currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Solv Health. Dr. Rohatsch brings his extensive background in multi-site ambulatory medicine operations, on-demand healthcare, and consumerism to Solv, where he helps drive strategic initiatives in a cross functional executive role. He brings comprehensive healthcare expertise ranging from medical group operations to revenue cycle management and clinical expertise.

Dr. Rohatsch completed his military service in the US Air Force and earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rohatsch served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty teaching at the medical school and is currently on faculty at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee teaching in the Executive MBA Program. He also serves on several boards and chairs The TJ Lobraico Foundation.

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