Why Adults Should Be Concerned About Chickenpox

Perhaps due to their concern for their children’s health, adults neglect to take necessary preventive measures to avoid getting sick.

But the thing is, a lot of diseases manifest more severely in adults than in children. Take chickenpox for instance.

Adults come down with the disease often have more persistent and annoying symptoms than children do.

And even though chickenpox complications are rare, they have a higher incidence rate in adults. Some of these complications include pneumonia (one in 400 adults), inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), and skin infections. If contracted by pregnant women, chickenpox has the potential to cause birth defects.

Fortunately, a vaccine is available that greatly reduces the risk for getting chickenpox.

Most people have had the disease by age 15. But the few adults who haven’t had chickenpox do not have any antibody protection against it, which previous exposure provides. Antibody protection is crucial since the disease the varicella virus which causes the disease can easily spread either by contact with chicken pox blisters or through by getting infected droplets that are released when a sick person coughs or sneezes.

If an unprotected adult is exposed, he or she will develop the usual symptoms, including irritability, fever, sore throat, dry cough, fatigue and a rash that produces hundreds of blisters all over the body. These blisters last for about a week, and then they dry up, crust over, and gradually fade away over a 2-week period. However, complications may include hospitalization, and even death. This is especially common among adults who do no have the antibodies to ward off the disease.

If you haven’t had the disease or if you do not have detectable antibody levels that would fight off the virus, your best option is option is to have the chickenpox vaccine. The vaccine is 70 percent to 90 percent effective in preventing this illness, and is also 95 percent effective in reducing your risk for complications.

Source: MSN Health


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