how did chickenpox get its name

how did chickenpox get its name

how did chickenpox get its name

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HOW DID CHICKENPOX GET ITS NAME?

The name chickenpox has been around for centuries, and there are a number of theories as to how it got its name. One is that it’s from the blisters that are seen with the illness. These red spots — which are about 1/5 inch to 2/5 inch (5mm to 10mm) wide — were once thought to look like chickpeas (garbanzo beans).

Another theory is that the rash of chickenpox looks like the peck marks caused by a chicken. But, in case you were wondering, chickenpox can’t be caught from a chicken!

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Why is it called chickenpox?

The official name for chickenpox is Varicella but unfortunately, there is no definitive answer on how it came to the name we commonly know it by today.

However, there are plenty of theories.

Firstly, many assume the name chickenpox came from the common symptom of large blisters on the body that look like chickpeas. And the ‘pox’ part is derived from the fact it’s in the smallpox family.

how did chickenpox get its name
21-month old girl with chicken pox Treatment with drying lotion. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Another theory comes from the idea the chickenpox rash looks like a chicken itself has pecked you all over the body.

A different idea comes from way back in the 18th century when a doctor named it chickenpox because it was a milder form of smallpox, and was therefore more ‘chicken’ (cowardly).

Where did chickenpox come from?

Chickenpox has been around for centuries, in fact there’s evidence of it dating back to ancient times.

Historians believe the disease was first brought to America in the 15th century from Europe.

A lot of people connect chickenpox with smallpox, however, they are two entirely separate infections with smallpox being much more severe.

While they both cause a rash and blisters and have ‘pox’ in the name, they are quite different, with smallpox practically being extinct thanks to the creation of a vaccine 65 years ago.

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