Measles and chickenpox are two sicknesses caused by viruses. They both make you have a rash, but they are not exactly the same. They have different symptoms and ways of spreading. Knowing these differences helps you seek appropriate medical assistance.

If you're unsure whether you have measles or chickenpox, don't worry - our experienced medical team at Felix Hospital can help. By recognizing the distinct symptoms and patterns of each illness, we can provide accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans. 

At Felix Hospital, we're here to help if you have measles or chickenpox.  Reserve your spot now at +91 9667064100.

What is Measles?

Measles is a very contagious sickness caused by a virus. It mostly affects kids but can happen to anyone. It spreads when infected people cough or sneeze. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash on the face and body. Measles can be dangerous, especially for young kids or those with weak immune systems. Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid it.


What is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a sickness that many kids get. It's caused by a virus. When someone with chickenpox coughs, sneezes, or touches, others can get it too. Symptoms include an itchy rash, fever, headache, and feeling tired. It's important to get a vaccine to stop it from happening.


Key Difference between Measles and Chickenpox:

Measles and chickenpox are both viral infections that can make you sick, but they're caused by different viruses. Measles is caused by the measles virus, which is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Chickenpox, on the other hand, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is also contagious and spreads through respiratory droplets or by coming into contact with the fluid from chickenpox blisters.


One big difference between the two is how their rashes appear. In measles, the rash usually starts as flat red spots on the face and then spreads down to the rest of the body. The rash may also appear inside the mouth. In contrast, the chickenpox rash typically starts on the trunk (the body's middle part), then spreads to other areas, including the face, scalp, and limbs. The chickenpox rash begins as small, red spots that quickly develop into itchy, fluid-filled blisters.

Apart from the rash, the symptoms of measles and chickenpox can also differ. Measles symptoms often include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, along with the rash. Chickenpox symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, and loss of appetite, in addition to the rash.


Incubation Period:

The incubation period is the time between when someone gets infected with the virus and when they start showing symptoms.

For chickenpox, the incubation period is usually about 10 to 21 days. This means that after someone is exposed to the virus, it can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days before they start feeling sick. During this time, they might not even know they're infected because they won't have any symptoms yet.

Whereas, Measles has a slightly shorter incubation period, typically around 7 to 14 days. So if someone gets exposed to the measles virus, it can take about a week to two weeks before they start feeling unwell.


During the incubation period, even though someone might not feel sick, they can still spread the virus to other people. That's why it's important to be careful around someone who might have been exposed to these diseases, even if they seem healthy.


Symptoms of Measles and Chickenpox:

Measles and chickenpox have some similar symptoms, like fever and rash, but there are differences too. Here are some of the symptoms of measles and chickenpox listed underneath: 

Measles Symptoms:

  • High fever: Your body temperature goes up, making you feel hot and unwell.
  • Cough: You may cough, which means your body is trying to clear your throat and airways.
  • Runny nose: Your nose produces more mucus than usual, making it runny and sometimes stuffy.
  • Red eyes: Your eyes may become red and irritated, possibly due to inflammation.
  • Rash starting on the face: A red rash appears on your face first, then spreads to the rest of your body.

Chickenpox Symptoms:

  • Fever: Your body temperature goes up, making you feel hot and unwell.
  • Headache: You may feel pain or pressure in your head.
  • Tiredness: You feel more sleepy or exhausted than usual.
  • Itchy rash starting on the body: A red, bumpy rash appears on your skin, causing itching, and it usually begins on the body.

What Causes Measles and Chickenpox?

Measles and chickenpox are viral infections caused by different viruses.


  • Measles: It's caused by the measles virus. It spreads through coughing, sneezing, or contact with infected saliva. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash. Vaccination with the MMR vaccine can prevent it.
  • Chickenpox: Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, it spreads through coughing, sneezing, or contact with fluid from blisters. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and an itchy rash. Vaccination with the varicella vaccine can prevent it.

Both diseases underscore the critical need for vaccination to safeguard our health, especially among vulnerable populations like children, who are often treated at child hospital in Noida.


Risks Associated with Measles and Chickenpox:

Risks Associated with Measles:

  • Complications: Measles can cause serious problems, especially in babies, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems. It can lead to lung infections like pneumonia or brain swelling, which can be dangerous or deadly.
  • Getting Sick Again: Measles weakens your body's ability to fight off other infections. So, after having measles, you're more likely to get other sicknesses like ear or lung infections.
  • Brain Disease: In rare cases, measles can lead to a brain disease called SSPE. It slowly damages the brain and can cause severe disability or death.

Risks Associated with Chickenpox:

  • Complications: Chickenpox can lead to serious problems, especially in grown-ups, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems. It can cause skin infections, lung problems like pneumonia, or brain swelling, which can be life-threatening.
  • Lung Infection: Chickenpox can sometimes lead to a severe lung infection, especially in adults. It makes it hard to breathe and needs serious medical care.
  • Shingles: After having chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and can come back later in life as shingles. It causes a painful rash and can leave long-lasting nerve pain.

Both measles and chickenpox show why vaccines are important. They not only stop you from getting sick but also protect you from these serious complications.


Read more about Chickenpox in Hindi


Diagnosis for Measles and Chickenpox:

Diagnosis for Measles:

  • Spotting Symptoms: Doctors look for common signs like fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads.
  • Blood Test: A simple blood test can show if the body has specific antibodies that fight the measles virus. Doctors may also collect samples from the throat or nose to check for the virus itself.
  • Asking Questions: Doctors may ask about recent travel and if the person has been around others with measles.

Diagnosis for Chickenpox:

  • Recognizing Symptoms: Doctors check for fever, headache, tiredness, and an itchy rash with small blisters. They also note where the rash appears on the body.
  • Physical Exam: By looking at the rash and asking about symptoms, doctors can often tell if it's chickenpox.
  • Blood Test (If Needed): Sometimes, a blood test can confirm the presence of antibodies that fight the chickenpox virus.
  • Questions About Exposure: Doctors may ask if the person has been near others with chickenpox recently.'

If someone thinks they have measles or chickenpox, it's important to see a doctor to get the right care.


Treatment of Measles and Chickenpox:

Treatment of Measles:

  • Rest and Comfort: Resting and staying hydrated can help the body fight the virus. Fever and discomfort can be managed with medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Vitamin A: In severe cases, doctors may give extra vitamin A to help the body fight the virus better.
  • Handling Complications: If problems like pneumonia occur, doctors will treat them with appropriate medications. Infected people should stay away from others to prevent spreading measles.

Treatment of Chickenpox:

  • Symptom Relief: Medicines like acetaminophen can reduce fever and discomfort. Special lotions or baths can soothe itchy skin.
  • Preventing Scratching: It's important not to scratch the blisters to avoid infections or scarring. Keeping nails short and wearing gloves or mittens can help.
  • Antiviral Medicines: In some cases, doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs to lessen symptoms, especially in severe cases or for people at risk of complications.
  • Isolation: People with chickenpox should stay away from others until all blisters have dried up to prevent spreading the virus.
  • Vaccination: After being exposed to chickenpox, some people may get vaccinated to prevent getting sick or to lessen the severity of the illness.

Remember, it's important to seek medical advice if you or someone you know has measles or chickenpox to get the right care.

The Importance of Vaccination:

Vaccination is like a superhero shield against serious illnesses like chickenpox and measles. It's a special way to train your body to fight off these diseases if you ever come into contact with them. Here's why it's super important:


  • Stay Healthy: Getting vaccinated helps keep you and your loved ones healthy. It's like wearing Armor to protect yourself from getting sick.
  • Prevent Spreading: Vaccination not only protects you but also helps stop the diseases from spreading to others. It's like building a fortress around your community to keep everyone safe.
  • Avoid Serious Complications: Chickenpox and measles can sometimes lead to serious problems like pneumonia or brain swelling. But with vaccination, you can lower the risk of these scary complications.
  • Save Lives: By getting vaccinated, you're not just protecting yourself; you're also helping to save lives. Vaccines have been proven to prevent millions of deaths worldwide.

So, whether it's chickenpox or measles, vaccination is your superpower to stay healthy and keep those around you safe. Don't wait - talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated today!


When to See a Doctor?

If you or someone you know shows symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash spreading from the face downwards, or develops a fever, headache, tiredness, and an itchy rash with blisters, it's crucial to see a doctor. This is especially important for vulnerable groups like infants, pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, or adults who may experience severe complications. Seek medical attention promptly if symptoms worsen or if there are signs of infection. If unsure about exposure to measles or chickenpox, consulting a healthcare provider is advisable for proper guidance on preventive measures.

Wrapping Up:

In conclusion, while both measles and chickenpox are contagious viral infections, they present distinct sets of symptoms. Measles typically manifests with high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash starting on the face. On the other hand, chickenpox commonly includes symptoms such as fever, headache, tiredness, and an itchy rash starting on the body. Understanding these differences is crucial for prompt diagnosis and appropriate management. Vaccination remains the most effective preventive measure against both diseases, significantly reducing the risk of transmission and potential complications.


Felix Hospital, the best general physicians hospital in Noida is here to support you if you or your loved ones are dealing with chickenpox or measles. Reach out to us today by dialling +91 9667064100


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • Can you catch measles or chickenpox even if you've had the vaccine?

ANS. Getting vaccinated lowers the chances of getting measles or chickenpox, but sometimes people can still get them, especially if the vaccine didn't fully protect them.


  • How long does it take to get better from measles or chickenpox?

ANS. It usually takes about a week or two to feel better from both measles and chickenpox if you rest and take care of yourself.


  • When can you spread measles or chickenpox to others?

ANS. With measles, you can spread it a few days before the rash shows up until several days after. For chickenpox, it's from a day or two before the rash until all the blisters have scabbed over.


  • Can adults get chickenpox if they never had it as a kid?

ANS. Yes, adults who never had chickenpox or got the vaccine can still catch it, and it's often worse for them than for kids.


  • Can you catch measles or chickenpox more than once?

ANS. It's uncommon because having them usually gives lifelong immunity, but sometimes people can get them again, though it's rare.


  • Is there a cure for measles or chickenpox?

ANS. No, there isn't, but you can treat the symptoms and prevent complications with care and treatment.


  • Can you travel or go to school/work if you have measles or chickenpox?

ANS. It's better to stay home to avoid spreading the diseases to others.


  • Can natural remedies or supplements prevent measles or chickenpox?

ANS. Good health habits help, but vaccines are the best way to prevent measles and chickenpox.


  • What should you do if you're around someone with measles or chickenpox?

ANS. If you're not immune, see a doctor for advice. They might suggest a vaccine or other ways to lower your chances of getting sick.


  • Can you get measles or chickenpox from someone who's had the vaccine? 

ANS. People who got vaccinated are unlikely to spread measles or chickenpox, but in very rare cases, they might still be able to pass it on to others, especially if the vaccine didn't fully protect them.

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