A virus, Varicella zoster causes chicken pox. One of the most contagious diseases, chicken pox, usually affects kids, yet adults are also prone to this infection. The most common chicken pox symptoms include red blisters accompanying skin rash, and it’s incredibly itchy. After a few days, these blisters begin to pop and leak. Before final healing, crusting and scabbing of the blisters happens.
After you’ve come into contact with a person having the infection, the chicken pox symptoms appearance begins in between 10 to 21 days. A majority of people start recovering in approximately two weeks. Generally, the infection is mild, primarily when it occurs in children. However, in case it gets severe, the blisters are spread all over the body, including mouth, nose, and eyes and even over the genital areas.
Mostly, children under the age of two years are at risk of getting chickenpox. There are 90% of cases in which chickenpox happens in young children. Also, a person is more likely to get the infection if he:
- Has not reached the disease before
- Has not reached the vaccination for chickenpox
- Works in a child care center or school
- Lives with children
About chicken pox prevention
The chickenpox spreads very quickly as one can get an infection just by breathing in the virus particles coming from chickenpox blisters or if you touch something with chickenpox, particles landed on it. Before the appearance of the skin rashes, it is very contagious right from the first one to two days until all the skin blisters get dry and crust.
For chicken pox prevention, the first thing is to get the vaccination to prevent the virus from spreading. The vaccination name is the varicella vaccine. In young age children who have never understood the infection, doctors should give two dosages of the varicella vaccine.
The first vaccination is provided at the age of 12-15 months. The second dosage is given to the children between the ages of 4-6 years. People, who have not had the vaccination over 13 years of age, should also get the doses of the chickenpox vaccine in two doses within a 28 days gap.
Complications in chicken pox symptoms in adults
Children are likely to develop complications after the chicken pox symptoms get visible as compared to adults. Especially, people who have a weak immune system due to any other cause like HIV, cancer, or other medical conditions are at a higher risk.
Once you are infected, the virus inhibits the nerve cells of your body for many years. Its activation can occur anytime, and it can again stay awake for many more upcoming years. It can result in shingles, which is a worse condition causing painful blisters. Luckily, vaccination to cure shingles is available, and doctors suggest this vaccine for adults of over 60 years of age.
Chicken pox symptoms
Typically, the chicken pox symptoms are noticeable within 10-21 days from the time your body got exposed to its virus. The first and foremost sign is usually the state of feeling unwell. This first sign is followed by some more symptoms like:
- Body aches
- Feeling fatigued
- Appetite loss
- Feeling irritable
Within a period of one or two days, the patient develops chickenpox rash, a tell-tale of the infection, confirming the reasons behind chicken pox symptoms. One of the first and foremost chicken pox stages, the development of red or pink itchy bumps begins, called “papules” as called by doctors in medical terms. These itchy and irritating bumps can be in 250-500 in numbers spread all over the body. When the situation reaches severity, the cracks can develop in the oral cavity, anus, eyes, and even on genital.
Following the several days next to the development of red bumps, the bumps shrink and become fluid-filled vesicles or blisters. Lasting for at least a day, they usually pop and start leaking.
At last, open blisters crust overturning into scabs. During their healing, new bumps continuously appear, and the patient can have all of them at the same time: the bumps, scabs, and blisters. The patient can infect other people too until the blister’s spots crust entirely over time. In most of the cases, the chicken pox condition is mild and wears off on its own. But you need to go to the doctor immediately if you encounter the following symptoms:
- Spreading of rashes in both of the eyes of one of them
- The outbreaks are getting very red, tender, and warmer. It is a possible sign of having bacterial skin contamination.
- Dizziness and breath shortness
- Vomiting and stiffness in the neck
- There is no control over the muscles
- Persistent fever over 102 degrees.
Chicken pox treatment
An ideal course of the infection right from the beginning of chicken pox symptoms to the ultimate healing of the blisters, it takes 5-10 days. But if you have itchy skin due to the virus, it can take longer than usual to heal. Fortunately, some things are there that you can perform on your own at home for easing up the chickenpox symptoms while the body is undergoing through the healing process.
For pain: Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Whether it’s an adult or a young child, if having high fever and achiness due to chicken pox, use Tylenol as it helps in relieving body aches. Tylenol is useful for soreness, which develops in the mouth and on the skin. For most of the patients, Tylenol intake is quiet safe, including children of 2 months and pregnant women too.
However, apart from Tylenol, you should not reach out to any other pain killers who are anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. If you are suffering from chicken pox, such anti-inflammatory medicines can worsen your condition, making you iller. Also, to children under the age of 16 years, do not give aspirin as it can cause a severe complication known as Reye’s syndrome.
Avoid scratching the itchy skin rashes
It was quite understandable that those itchy and irritable skin rashes will compel you to scratch them, and you would think it will soothe and relax the irritability. But it will not. Scratching those rashes will not only cause scarring on your skin, but it can also lead to infection of bacterial skin. Here are specific helpful tips for calming down the itchy skin:
- Pat or tap on the rashes rather than scratching the,
- A cool oatmeal bathing will calm the itch. But do not rub the skin and just pat or dab it gently with a soft cloth.
- Put on loose cotton wear to allow your skin to breathe
- Calamine lotion is another effective remedy for calming the itchy spots
- An antihistamine such as Benadryl will ease the itching and affect the chicken pox symptoms
Sweating and heat will encourage the itchy skin. Therefore, always use a wet washcloth on the areas that are super itchy to calm and relax your skin.
Keep yourself hydrated
Intake of plenty of fluids will enable your body to get rid of the chicken pox virus faster and on its own. Besides, it will prevent the occurrence of dehydration in your body. Do not go for sodas or sugary drinks and choose water instead. It is necessary if you have chicken pox in your mouth. Another right choice can be sugar-free popsicles. Do not tempt yourself for spicy, hard, or salty foods as it will cause mouth soring.
Medications for chicken pox treatment
Sometimes, there are instances when a person comes into contact with the chicken pox patient but doesn’t encounter any of the chicken pox symptoms yet. In such cases, the doctor gives a treatment injection called immunoglobulin. It prevents chickenpox from turning severe. Also, the doctor may suggest this treatment if that person is:
- A smoker
- HIV infected
- Undergoing chemotherapy
- On the steroid medications of high dosages.
The chicken pox symptoms in babies have much probability of appearance with complication risks from the disease. If you are already encountering the symptoms as chicken pox symptoms in adults occur, the doctor may prescribe you Acyclovir. It is an anti-viral medication and helps to mitigate the symptoms from reaching the severe stage. The first dose of this medication is given within 24 hours by the time you began to develop the rashes. Afterward, you will have to take one tablet every day for at least a week.
Prevention of chicken pox
Doctors recommend immunization of children with chickenpox vaccination (varicella-zoster) when they are 2-3 months old. A second dose is also necessary to give them at the age of 4-5 years for complete chickenpox protection.
The vaccine also protects vulnerable people from chickenpox like women who are planning to get pregnant, as they tend to have a weak immune system at that time. On the contrary, if a woman is already pregnant, she is not eligible for chickenpox vaccination. Further advice is best to get from your doctor.
There is a similar vaccine but is high in dose. It is available for adults who have had chickenpox previously for the prevention of painful shingles outbreak. People over the age of 65 years should take the advice of a doctor first to know if the vaccine with a higher dose will assist them.
Complications of Chicken pox symptoms in adults
Caused due to a virus named varicella-zoster, chicken pox is one of the most common illnesses, and it has symptoms like itchy spots, fever, and blisters developing all over your body. Though it is mild and its effects start wearing off in 5-10 days, yet it is more likely to create complications when it happens in teenagers and adults. People who have weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to develop serious chickenpox complications.
Some of the complications that are possible to arise are:
- Skin infection all over the body
- Encephalitis (Brain fever or brain swelling)
- Inflammation in joints
Vaccination is the most effective method to prevent chickenpox from happening. It is readily available with doctors and in all hospitals. The efficacy of the chickenpox vaccine is visible as it completely immunes 70-90% of people from chickenpox who get the vaccination. Even if a person with prevention still gets chickenpox, the chickenpox symptoms are very mild and last for just a few days.
Chickenpox vaccination for adults
For adults, if they have not got the prevention yet or got it, a vaccination should still be given to them against it. Doctors provide each of the two doses of chickenpox vaccine after 28 days. Other reasons to get the vaccination in the right way maybe if you have never suffered from the chickenpox or got the vaccination. Still, you accidentally exposed to a chickenpox patient. It will decrease the risks of getting infected. According to some studies, if you get vaccination within three days after the exposure, it prevents illness up to 90%, and the immunization is valid up to 70% if you get chickenpox vaccination within five days from the time of exposure. After the vaccination, you should rest assured because, in odd cases, you get sick, the symptoms you will encounter will be very mild and of quite a short duration.
When to avoid chicken pox vaccination
A person should avoid getting the chickenpox vaccination in the following cases:
- He is ill from moderate to severely ill
- She is pregnant. Also, women should not conceive for at least a month after they get the chickenpox vaccination.
- The person is allergic to gelatin or has encountered an allergic reaction in the past due to an antibiotic named neomycin, gelatin, or previous vaccine doses.
- The person is a recipient of organ-donor.
- Cancer patients having chemotherapy
- People on steroidal drugs
- HIV positive people or any other disease that affects the body’s immune system
All of the above people should consult their doctor if they should get the vaccination or not.