April 16, 2009

Chicken Pox In Adults

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Chicken Pox is a common illness, and until recently, could be considered an integral part of growing up. Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a part of the Herpes family, it affects a large number of children under the age of 15. In 1995, a varicella-zoster vaccine was developed, which contains the dormant vaccine. If you haven’t had chicken pox as a child, and haven’t been vaccinated, then you’re susceptible to the disease as an adult as well.

Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease, and spreads by direct person to person contact. Touch, sharing utensils, or even a sneeze, can spread the virus. Fortunately, if you’ve had it once, you’re unlikely to get again, though it isn’t unheard of. Almost 70 to 80 percent of people who have been exposed to the virus will contract the disease.

Symptoms in Adult

Adults usually show the same symptoms as children. Itchy blisters appear all over the body, especially the face, scalp, and torso. The blisters are uncomfortable and cause itching, eventually crusting over. The rash may appear in waves. Sometimes, the rash is accompanied by a fever, sore throat, body ache, headache, and abdominal pain. Unfortunately, the appearance of the symptoms means that you’ve already been infected, as they appear two to three days after exposure to the virus.


While most children recover within a week or so, there is a possibility of some complications with adults. Most common among these are skin infections and pneumonia. Other, more serious, complications may include bone and joint infections (septic arthritis), brain infections (encephalitis) or hepatitis. It may also cause serious problems for pregnant women like still births or infections for the newborn baby.

If a person has already been infected with chicken pox, the virus stays in the body, and creates an immunity. Sometimes, the virus may get re-activated, and cause a painful rash known as shingles. Shingles are not contagious, but may infect people who have not had the disease earlier.

Home Remedies: Bathing in neem (margosa) leaves can help ease the discomfort. A paste of these leaves may also be applied. Special care must be taken for the diet, and a patient must have a lot of fruits and vegetables, cooked without oil. Talcum powder may be applied to the rash to ease itching, and once the blisters dry, vitamin E oil can ease the pain. You can also apply honey over the rashes. When bathing, make sure to pat yourself dry, and not rub. Scratching the rashes may cause permanent scarring.