why do they call chicken pox chicken pox

Why is chickenpox called 'chicken' pox? (Query)
Chicken pox -- is it named so because you can get it from chicken? Read to know the answer. My 8-year old daughter asked me why is chickenpox called so. Her questions were something like this Does it mean chicken with pox? or is it because you interact it from chickens? Can I get chicken pox if I eat chicken? If my friend gets it then can I also get infected? I didn t know what to answer. Please help. No, chicken pox doesn t mean chicken with pox. It is. And as far as the name is concerned, it is one question that most doctors donвt know the answer for.


There are numerous theories on why chicken pox is called so. Some of the relevant ones are в One theory states that the resemble the peck marks caused by a chicken. The red blisters that appear on the skin were thought to look like chickpeas (chavli in hindi) and hence, the name chicken pox, says another theory. Another theory suggests that chickens were usually associated with weakness and thus, the name chicken pox. An old English word giccan which means вto itchв was corrupted into chicken.


Also, pox was spelled as pocks (plural form of pock an old English word)В You can choose anyone of these theories to answer your kid, although most people agree with the one that states the marks on the skin resemblingВ pecks of a chicken. And if you have been wondering if chickens spread the infection, then you are wrong. Also, chicken pox cannot be caused by eating chicken. There is a high chance that your kid might get the virusВ if her close friend (or any person she spends time with) is infected, as the virus spreads through air, and it takes around 14 в 24 days to manifest the symptoms of the infection.


So it is better to get your daughter vaccinated as a preventive measure against chickenpox. Also read aboutВ. image via Shutterstock The birds themselves? Not a whole lot. Chickens donБt even get infected by the virus Б varicella zoster, a member of the herpes family Б that causes the rash. (They can however, get an infection with similar effects called. ) The name, rather, likely comes from chickensБ association with weakness and wimpiness*. б Just like we might tease our chicken-livered friends for chickening out from an adventure that weБre brave enough to handle, the name chicken pox distinguishes the milder infection from the more serious and deadly smallpox and syphilis (a. k. a. the Great Pox ).


While this origin seems to be the most widely agreed upon and used, there are two more explanations sometimes given in medical texts. One is that the name came about because the rashБs lesions can resemble chickpeas.


The other is that the Old English word giccan (Бto itchБ) either got corrupted into БchickenБ or mixed up with the similar-looking Old English cicen (Бyoung fowlБ). And pox, if youБre wondering, is a variant spelling of pocks, the plural of the Old English pock, or Бpustule. Б * As for why we associate chickens with weakness, I haven't been able to find anything solid, but the Straight Dope boards provide some interesting and amusingб on it.