A disease is a particular medical condition that can adversely affect the structure and function of all the organisms or the parts of the organism.
Diseases are of many types with specific symptoms and signs. The disease can be of two categories: Communicable and non-communicable. Chickenpox and Shingles are of two categories with some exceptions.
- Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, while shingles result from the same virus reactivating later in life.
- Chickenpox affects children and presents as an itchy rash, while shingles affect older adults and cause painful, localized blisters.
- Vaccines are available for chickenpox and shingles to prevent or lessen the severity of these conditions.
Chickenpox vs Shingles
The difference between Chickenpox and Shingles is that Chickenpox is not very severe and generally affects children, whereas Shingles happen after the reactivation of the Chickenpox virus. Even after recovery, the Chickenpox virus stays in the body for a long, whereas the Shingles virus does not stay anymore after recovery.
Chickenpox is also known as varicella and is characterized by red itchy blisters all over the skin of the body.
Chickenpox often occurs in children. Generally, chickenpox does not affect the same individual more than once in a lifetime.
While Shingles generally affect the individual who has a history of Chickenpox infection, even decades prior. Shingles are painful rash all over the skin.
These rashes are blisters filled with fluid and turn red. These rashes take 7 to 10 days to dry out and form a crust over the affected area of the skin.
|Parameters of Comparison||Chickenpox||Shingles|
|Tenure of the disease||Lasts for 7 to 10 days.||Lasts for 72 hours or more.|
|Transmission Type||It is communicable and contagious.||It is non-communicable but contagious.|
|Vaccine||Varicella vaccine.||Shingrix vaccine.|
|Causative Virus||Varicella virus.||Varicella-zoster virus.|
|Age Group Occurence||It affects mainly during childhood.||It affects during adulthood or mainly the ones who have had chickenpox earlier.|
What is Chickenpox?
There is no clear evidence to show the derivation of the term chickenpox yet. Chickenpox is a comparatively mild disease.
There has been a declaration of chickenpox being related to chickpeas, and the study was based on the similarity of the cavity shown in chickpeas, or it could transfer from the rashes in correspondence to chicken pecks.
Primary chickenpox is a global infection, i.e., it occurs in all the countries of the world. Chickenpox mainly occurs in temperate countries and mostly among children.
Most cases of chickenpox are reported during the winter and spring season, generally because of school contact.
Chickenpox is one of the most common diseases in childhood, and most cases affect children of the age group of 15.
Chickenpox frequently occurs in older/aged people in the world’s tropical regions and causes more serious diseases.
The pockmarks get darker, and the scars become more prominent in adults than children.
The preliminary or early symptoms of chickenpox seen in most teens and adults are loss of appetite, headache, feeling nauseous, fatigue and muscle ache.
After these signs, the major symptoms occur, which are characterized by oral sores or rash, uneasiness, and low fever that denote the presence of the chickenpox virus.
In children, the disease generally has the initial signs of chickenpox as the formation of rashes in the oral cavity.
The rash begins as tiny red dots and can be seen on the body, back, scalp, upper legs, face and arms.
People are advised to stay at home while an individual is contagious to prevent spreading the disease to anyone else.
There are vaccines to prevent an individual from getting affected by this virus.
The vaccine to prevent chickenpox is the varicella vaccine, the spreading of the chickenpox virus can be prevented or stopped by keeping the affected individuals in quarantine.
Infection is caused by subjection or inhalation of respiratory drops or can be due to direct contact with scrapes.
This phase can last from three days before the actual onset of the lesion and is followed by four days after the beginning of the rash or lesion.
What is Shingles?
Shingles are also very commonly known as herpes zoster. The same varicella virus also causes shingles as that of chickenpox.
It generally affects individuals with a history of chickenpox, as the chickenpox virus stays in the body for 50 years even after getting cured.
Varicella-zoster can act on the arteries which are present in the head and nape. This is the basis of causing stroke during childhood and even after several years of dormancy period.
Shingles can result in serious issues such as hearing loss, eye vision problems and rarely catalepsy, or African sleeping sickness.
Shingles rashes have blisters filled with fluid that can easily break. These rashes are red and very itchy.
Doctors advise patients affected with shingles to avoid touching or itching the rashes, failing which can cause permanent dark spots all over the body and face.
Some of the signs and symptoms of Shingles are chills, headache, fever, fatigue and weakness of the muscles. Severe symptoms include red rashes, pain, hearing loss, loss of taste and dizziness.
Shingles is a non-communicable disease, but the virus causing shingles, i.e., varicella-zoster, can cause it to spread to an unaffected individual who never has had chickenpox.
An individual can’t get shingles from someone affected with shingles, but they can get chickenpox through the contagious virus.
Shingles can be prevented by prior vaccination. The vaccine recommended by CDC for shingles is the Shingrix vaccine.
Shingles can be treated 72 hours or 3 days after acquisition. Eating food rich in vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E can help in lowering the effect of shingles at home.
Main Differences Between Chickenpox and Shingles
- Chickenpox generally occurs in children, whereas Shingles are common in adults.
- Chickenpox is a mild infection, whereas Shingles is a very severe infection.
- The varicella virus causes chickenpox, whereas the varicella-zoster virus causes Shingles.
- Chickenpox is can be prevented by the varicella vaccine, whereas the Shingrix vaccine can prevent Shingles.
- Chickenpox has red rashes with mild pain, whereas Shingles have red rashes filled with a fluid having severe pain.
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.