November 19, 2023

Why It Is Called Chicken Pox

The chicken pox virus (varicella) is a very contagious infection that causes a itchy, blister-like rash. The virus is spread by coming into contact with the fluid from the blisters or rash on the skin of an infected person. This can happen when someone coughs, sneezes or touches the rash. It is also possible to get the infection from breathing in the virus particles that are released into the air by an infected person. Children with chickenpox can be infectious until all the spots have crusted over, usually about 5 days after the rash starts.

There are many theories about why it is called chicken pox. One theory is that it comes from the fact that the red spots on the rash look like peck marks made by chickens. Another is that it is named because the virus isn't as bad as smallpox, which was deadly before a vaccine was created 65 years ago.

A doctor from England in the 18th century named the illness chicken pox because he thought it was a milder form of Small Pox. Small Pox is now almost completely eradicated thanks to the vaccine, but it was a horrible disease in its time.

The name may also come from the fact that the itchy rash makes kids scratch, which can cause scars and take longer to heal. It is important for parents to keep their children home from school or day care if they have symptoms of chickenpox, and to teach them to cover the rash with loose clothing. They should also use a tissue to cough or sneeze and wash their hands frequently. Taking the drug acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) can help control fever and reduce itching. Avoid giving your child aspirin, which can increase the chance of Reye's syndrome, a severe problem that affects the brain and liver.


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