During this stage of smallpox symptoms, the bumps become pustules -- sharply raised and usually round and firm to the touch, as if there's a small, round object under the skin. People often say the bumps feel like BB pellets embedded in the skin. These symptoms of smallpox last about five days. A person is still contagious during this period.
Pustules and Scabs
During this stage of smallpox symptoms, the pustules begin to form a crust and then scab. By the end of the second week after the rash appears, most of the sores have scabbed over.
During this stage, the scabs begin to fall off, leaving marks on the skin that eventually become pitted scars. Most scabs will have fallen off three weeks after the rash appears. The person is contagious until all of the scabs have fallen off.
During this final stage of symptoms of smallpox, scabs have fallen off and the person is no longer contagious.
The majority of people with smallpox recover, but death may occur in up to 30 percent of cases. Those who do recover are often left with disfiguring scars.