by EBSCO Medical Review Board

A risk factor is something that raises the chances of getting a health problem. A person can get chickenpox with or without the risk factors listed below. The chances of getting it are greater in people who have many.

Chickenpox is more common in children who are younger than 10 years old. It is also more common in winter and spring.

People have a greater chance of getting it when they come in direct contact with a person infected with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).

Chickenpox is not usually serious when it happens during childhood. It may be more severe in:

  • Children less than 1 year old and over 15 years old
  • Any person with immune system problems
  • A mother who is exposed to VZV during pregnancy
  • A fetus exposed to VZV


Chickenpox. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed September 8, 2020.

Chickenpox. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Accessed September 8, 2020.

Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed September 8, 2020.

Gershon AA, Breuer J, et al. Varicella zoster virus infection. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2015 Jul 2;1:15016.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN
  • Review Date: 03/2020
  • Update Date: 03/23/2021