How Did Chickenpox Get Its Name?

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How did chickenpox get its name?
- Martha

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!

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015



Related Resources

OrganizationImmunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.


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Your Child's Immunizations: Chickenpox Vaccine Find out when and why your child needs to get this vaccine.
Shingles Shingles isn't very common in kids - it mostly affects older people. Find out what causes shingles, symptoms to watch for, and what to do if your child has it.
Chickenpox It's most common in kids under age 12, but anyone can get chickenpox. The good news is that a vaccine can prevent most cases.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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