Chickenpox is originally considered a “child” disease, but this does not mean that it does not threaten adults. Chickenpox in adults develops much more sharply and more dangerously than in childhood. If in childhood the chickenpox passes in a mild form, then for adults it is more likely to be a moderate or severe leak. With each passing year and closer to mature, old age, chickenpox is more and more at risk of provoking complications.
The Causes of Chickenpox in Adults
Once having had chickenpox more than this infection, you can not be afraid. From chickenpox, a person develops permanent immunity. That’s why not fiction, but absolutely real stories that familiar children are brought to visit each other, it is only one to get infected with chickenpox.
The virus of chickenpox belongs to the family of herpesviruses and is called Varicella zoster. It spreads by airborne droplets, it is able to travel in the air for meter distances. From the room to the room, including through ventilation, the virus thanks to its small size easily penetrates. The source of the virus is a person who is in a state of active disease or only at the end of the incubation period. The incubation period is estimated at 10-21 days from the moment of infection with the virus. Although the virus is characterized as increased contagion and volatility, but it is completely resistant to the external environment, and therefore, the source of infection, third parties and objects are not.
From the first day of symptoms, a person needs strict quarantine, since he is already at risk of someone who will follow him in an elevator, corridor, or similar premises.
At the same time, contact with a patient for an adult or even a child does not necessarily mean an infection. The case is in a state of immunity. Of course, the immunity of an adult is stronger and more developed than that of a child, but sometimes he is weaker. Protective functions of the body can be reduced against the background of a serious illness, treatment, severe stress and other unfavorable factors.
Another reason for the occurrence of chickenpox in adults is in contact with the patient’s shingles in the acute stage. Being a virus related to shingles, chickenpox can overtake again a person with suppressed immunity.
In a zone of special risk are pregnant women. Vaccination of pregnant women is not carried out. If for the woman the disease will proceed exactly with the same risks as for other adults, then the virus presents a particular danger directly to the fetus. As with most other infectious diseases, in the case of chicken pox, the greatest risks fall on the first trimester of pregnancy and the days before birth:
- at the beginning of pregnancy, chickenpox virus can lead to both involuntary abortion, miscarriage, the birth of a dead child, and to a variety of congenital pathologies;
- from a woman giving birth in a state of sickness, the virus can be transmitted to a newborn, who is provoked by pneumonia of the wind; it is dangerously lethal.
If a woman has had chickenpox at the beginning of pregnancy, subsequent ultrasound and other diagnostic methods are aimed at identifying or eliminating congenital anomalies in the fetus. If the virus overtakes by the end of the term, then it is possible to attempt to delay childbirth. In extreme cases, apply immunoglobulins, which contain antibodies to the causative agent of the disease.
Prevention of Chickenpox in Adults
The most reliable way to exclude the possibility of chickenpox is the presence of a disease in a history of life. That is, having survived only once – in childhood, youth and even adulthood – a person has a stable immunity that does not allow him to get sick again. At the same time chicken pox does not pass without a trace. The virus is “remembered” by nerve endings, and in unfavorable circumstances it is manifested by shingles.
If you think that chickenpox can be and is necessary, that this is an affordable way to prevent severe its form in adulthood, then remember that exacerbation of herpes zoster is not limited to one time. This disease is no less unpleasant than smallpox itself. It is accompanied by unbearable burning pains.
To prevent neither chickenpox, nor shingles afterwards, vaccination is an excellent way of prevention. Formed from her immunity can not be called lifelong, but it is characterized as persistent and prolonged. Whether the vaccine is needed at the moment, if the antibodies to the Varicella zoster virus remain in the blood after the previous vaccination, the blood test from the vein will show. In the presence of antibodies, there is no need for vaccination.
The vaccine contains a living, weakened strain. It is performed in two injections, with a difference of 1-2 months. Suitable for both routine and emergency vaccinations. The latter is undertaken in the next 72 hours after the first contact with the patient. Vaccination is appropriate for an adult as well as for children older than one year. It is appropriate to carry out vaccination against chickenpox in combination with vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella.
Vaccination against varicella can cause a number of side effects. Among the most frequent, but not necessarily mandatory side effects are the mildest symptoms of chickenpox, an increase in body temperature. However, this is not an excuse for refusing vaccination. The real reason to think about the need for vaccination is likely to be an allergic reaction, in particular to gelatin and other components of the vaccine.
Symptoms of Chickenpox in Adults
The symptoms of chickenpox in adults are similar in many respects to manifestations of the disease in childhood. However, each symptom is borne by the body on an order of magnitude heavier.
It starts chickenpox in adults suddenly, with a sharp flash. Among the expressive signs:
- general weakness and aches in the body,
- nausea, sometimes vomiting, indicating the development of intoxication in the body,
- fever – the temperature rises sharply to 39-40 ° C,
- a specific symptom of chickenpox in adults is an increase in lymph nodes – BTE and cervical – they reach visible to the eye size, strain and become painful,
- and the most obvious sign of smallpox is a rash.
The rash during chickenpox in adults, like in children, is characterized by a certain specificity:
- very much itches and burns, literally depriving the person of a dream,
- begins with the abdomen and thighs,
- on the shoulders and chest spreads up,
- in the last place affects the face and scalp,
- can spread not only on the skin, but also on the mucous membranes of the body – the mouth and mucous membrane of the pharynx, sometimes even the mucous membranes of the genital organs,
- the newly emerged rash is a small red tubercle that gradually transforms into a transparent vial,
- transparent bubbles in their base remain red, and inside they contain liquid,
- easily bursting, the bubbles turn into moist sores (vesicles), which are covered from above with a thin crust,
- a few weeks can pass until the moment of self-rejection of the crust, which is considered the completion of the disease
Formation of the rash lasts 3-5 days. During this time, the first tubercles manage to burst and turn into sores, while the latter only appear. Often on the patient’s body, you can simultaneously observe them, and red spots, and bumps, and dried crusts. Potentially dangerous to others, people cease to be, as soon as the last crust of the bursting vesicle falls off.
Complications of Chickenpox in Adults
The most common complication of chicken pox in adults is the infection of the skin as a result of strong combing of the itching rash. Ideally, the rash does not need to be touched at all – scratching it, ripping off the crusts, squeezing out the contents (especially in a dream) – but this is quite difficult. To damage the bubbles can be a banal rubbing of the body with a towel. To be careful and maximum care with rashes is necessary in order to prevent infection, suppuration, and sometimes necrotic processes in pustules. If it is premature to rip crusts off the pustules, a so-called smallpox is formed, eventually turning into a scar. It is necessary to be prepared for the fact that the rash from chickenpox in adults lasts longer, spreads more abundantly, and the drying and rejection of crusts also lasts longer.
There is always a risk of such heavy forms of chickenpox as hemorrhagic and gangrenous. The first is due to the damage of the blood vessels, and then the contents of the vesicles contain impurities of blood. The second is due to the processes of putrefaction inside the rash, and as a result, deep ulcers with the highest risk of infection are formed.
Other sources of infection on the skin and mucous membranes in case of chickenpox in adults are the risk of non-observance of banal hygiene measures, scratching of the rash with dirty hands / nails, ignoring the use of special healing and antiseptic agents for external use, etc. The risk of infection of sores in adults is much higher than that of children.
It is important to note that infection of pustules is not the only danger triggered by the varicella-zoster virus. In adults, and even more so in adolescence and old age at times, the risk of developing the following complications of chickenpox increases:
- varicella pneumonia – the penetration of the virus into the bronchopulmonary system is more often observed in persons with immune system disorders, especially in adolescents and pregnant women;
- loss of vision, optic neuritis – if the smallpox virus, due to non-hygiene, spreads to the cornea of the eye (for example, if you rub your eyes with your hands immediately after combing the papules), the rash may appear even on the eye’s whiskey, and on the temples, under the eyes and above over the centuries; in this case, the scars remain on the place of the blisters, this affects the state of vision until its complete loss;
- arthritis or inflammation of the joints occurs if the virus penetrates into the joint bags, the joints themselves; pain, as well as aching muscles, passes along with the neutralization of the rash;
- meningitis and encephalitis, damage to the cerebellum and cranial nerve nuclei – an unfavorable course of chickenpox that occurs when the varicella zoster virus reaches the nerve cells and meninges; the main symptoms are headache, nausea, convulsions, loss of consciousness, impaired coordination of movements and feelings of balance, paralysis of facial muscles;
- wind turbine tracheitis or laryngitis – the main course of chicken pox in adults, less often in children, is accompanied by a cough and sore throat; this will be the case if rashes on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and pharyngeal develop, and they will be abundant;
- acute stomatitis – pestering the patient, when the windmill ulcers are localized on the mucosa of the mouth and gums;
- vulvitis in women and balanoposthitis in men develop when a bubble rash occurs on the genitals.
How to Treat Chickenpox in Adults?
First of all, a reservation concerning business and employment. If the child at the first signs of chickenpox still hurry to leave the house at home, then among adults there will certainly be those who would like to ignore and move “on their feet” an outbreak of chicken pox. Most likely, your attempt will fail. On 3-5 days of illness at least the temperature and aches in the body will make you stay in bed.
At the same time, in the last days of the incubation period and in the first days of the exacerbation of the virus, it will be possible to find strength for the usual pace of life. Do not make such a mistake, even if there are many urgent cases. Think not about yourself, so about the people with whom you will contact. In these terms, you are the source of the virus. If you have been careless in contacting an adult or a child with obvious signs of chickenpox, take care of your well-being in the next 10-21 days. The most reasonable in the first three days after contact to get vaccinated.
If the infection could not be avoided, if you stayed home in bed, then this treatment of chickenpox is not limited. It is advisable to consult a specialized specialist, but it is strictly not recommended to go to a polyclinic with a sick chickenpox. You need to call a doctor at home and inform the dispatcher about the details of your clinical case.
The therapist after the examination will make an appropriate conclusion and open the hospital sheet. Close it will be possible only when the doctor makes sure that there are no pustules left on your body or dried crusts. Parents whose baby is more chickenpox also open a sick leave list. The goal is always to minimize the risks of infection for people who are in contact with the source of the virus.
As for the treatment itself, it is symptomatic in the prevalent number of cases. That is, funds are prescribed to relieve the itching and burning of the rash. These are usually preparations based on antiviral components, interferon. If the doctor sees the attachment of infection to the wound, he can prescribe antibiotics, both for ingestion and for topical use. Another symptom requiring a pharmaceutical effect is the body temperature. It rises sharply and to the boundary values (39-40 ° C). To tolerate such a temperature is by no means possible, and therefore appointed antipyretic, for example, based on ibuprofen or paracetamol.
As already noted, chickenpox in adults with maximum risks can become infected. This is the most common complication. To prevent it, you need to “dry up” and disinfect the constantly formed small pox. With this task, a brilliant diamond green solution or kalamin-lotion (a colorless antiseptic) is an excellent solution. If the rash is found in the mouth, the mucosa is treated with a rinse aid containing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you can not get the scars from chickenpox in adults failed, then the methods of laser hair removal will come to the rescue. This is the surest way to normalize the skin condition.