Why Chickenpox is Called Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes itchy red spots all over the body. It’s more common in children than adults. You can get a vaccine to protect against it. The disease spreads easily from person to person, even if you’re just in the same room as someone with it.

People wonder why it’s called “chicken pox” and where it came from. The name is interesting, and the disease itself has been around for a long time.

Reason behind its name

  • Chickenpox’s official name is Varicella, but we don’t know for sure why it’s called “chickenpox.”
  • Some people think it’s because the blisters look like chickpeas and “pox” is from smallpox.
  • Another idea is that the rash looks like a chicken pecked you.
  • A long time ago, a doctor thought it was called “chickenpox” because it’s milder than smallpox, like a chicken compared to a stronger animal.

Where does chicken pox come from?

Chickenpox has been around for a long time, even in ancient times. It probably came to America from Europe in the 15th century. Many people mix up chickenpox and smallpox, but they are different illnesses. Smallpox is more serious. Both cause rashes and blisters, but smallpox has almost disappeared since a vaccine was made 65 years ago.

Why is chickenpox called Mata in India?

  • Every culture has superstitions about diseases. In India, there are many beliefs about chickenpox.
  • In some parts of India, chickenpox is called ‘Mata,’ which means “mother” in Hindi. But people with chickenpox don’t usually like that name.
  • Chickenpox is caused by a virus called varicella-zoster. It gives you itchy red rashes and spreads easily, especially among kids and young adults who don’t practice good hygiene.
  • The name ‘Mata’ is connected to a goddess called Shitala Mata. She is believed to have the power to cure diseases with holy water but also to punish with a silver broom. When she causes chickenpox, it’s seen as a punishment, but it’s also a way for her to heal from the inside.
  • Long ago, there was a story about an Asura named Javarasura who made kids sick with high fevers. Mata Katyayani transformed into Shitala Mata to help them.
  • When people in rural India get chickenpox, they are treated like gods because they believe Shitala Mata has visited them. They might go to her temple and eat special cold foods to get better.
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Other information

  • Chickenpox is a sickness that spreads easily and gives itchy red spots and blisters on the skin.
  • The virus that causes chickenpox is called Varicella-Zoster. It can also cause shingles later in life.
  • It spreads when sick people cough, sneeze, or touch others directly or through their rash.
  • Symptoms usually show up after 10-21 days and include itchy skin, fever, headache, feeling tired, and not wanting to eat.
  • Sometimes chickenpox can cause serious problems like pneumonia or brain issues, especially in people with weak immune systems.
  • Treatment focuses on managing the symptoms, but doctors might give antiviral medicine for severe cases.

Frequently asked questions

Q1: Why do they call them chicken pox?

A1: People used to think that the red spots, which are about the size of chickpeas or chicken peck marks, looked like certain foods or things related to chickens.

Q2: Why is it called chicken pox and monkey pox?

A2: Both diseases have “pox” in their names because they both create pockmark-like skin spots. But they are caused by different viruses. Monkeypox, now called mpox, is an orthopoxvirus and is linked to the virus that causes smallpox. Chickenpox, on the other hand, is caused by a type of herpes virus.

Q3: Can chickens get chicken pox?

A3: The pox virus can make almost any bird sick, like wild birds, turkeys, pigeons, pheasants, quail, ducks, and all kinds of chickens. Fowl pox can lead to death in very sick birds, but usually, it causes problems like weight loss, slow growth, and fewer eggs being laid.