Adult Chickenpox

Adult Chickenpox
Body Parts: Head Limbs Chest Back
Medical Subjects: Skin

What Is Adult Chickenpox?

What is chicken pox?

Varicella is a highly contagious eruptive disease. The cause of varicella is varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is usually transmitted by direct contact with varicella patients or contact with respiratory droplets of varicella patients. The disease is most common among children aged 2-10 years.

Is chickenpox common in adults?

Nowadays, it is common for adults to get chickenpox, but it is most common for children.

What is the difference between adult varicella and pediatric varicella?

  • After children are infected with chickenpox, the symptoms are generally not serious. Children will have fever, loss of appetite and poor spirits in the early stage. After 1 ~ 2 days, the whole body will have a rash, and a few days later, blisters will scab.

  • After the occurrence of chickenpox in adults, the symptoms are more severe than those in children, the prodromal period is longer, and the body temperature during fever is higher (> 38.5℃), which lasts for 3 ~ 5 days or even longer. The systemic symptoms are also more obvious, such as dizziness, headache, muscle pain and fatigue, and the complications are more common, such as varicella pneumonia and varicella encephalopathy. Most of the patients have a good prognosis, while a few adults with varicella and some children have poor prognosis.


What Is The Cause Of Adult Chickenpox?

Why do you get adult chickenpox?

Adults who haven't been exposed to varicella-zoster virus (who didn't have chickenpox when they were young) will suffer from low immunity if they are stressed, sleep poorly, stay up late and eat irregularly. If someone around them has chickenpox or comes into contact with a patient infected with varicella virus during this period, it is easy to catch the virus and get chickenpox.

I never had chickenpox when I was a child, but I was infected with varicella-zoster virus when I was an adult. Is it chickenpox or herpes zoster?

When I was a child, I never had chickenpox. There are two situations:

  • The first case is that there is no virus, so adults will get chickenpox when they are infected for the first time.

  • In the second case, it is also possible that the virus is infected with varicella-zoster virus, but it has not developed, or its performance is not typical and it has not been discovered, so the virus can be hidden in the body, and in the future, under the inducing factors (such as fatigue, poor sleep, etc.), the virus will become active and cause herpes zoster.

Can adult chicken pox be contagious? How is it contagious?

It's contagious. It is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets or by direct contact with varicella patients.


What Are The Symptoms Of Adult Chickenpox?

What is chickenpox like?

Chickenpox is a red rash at the beginning, and it turns into an oval droplet-like blister after several hours, with a blush around it. After a few days, the blister will burst and scab, and new blisters will appear one after another. Therefore, we often see a complete, broken blister and scab on a patient's skin at the same time, and some patients will also have ulceration in their oral cavity and external genitalia.

Where do chickenpox often occur? Is there a sequence of places where chickenpox occurs?

  • Most common in the trunk and face and neck, mainly in the trunk. Typical chickenpox is distributed centripetally (the trunk is the most, but the periphery is less).

  • In order, chickenpox first appeared in the trunk, and then spread to the face and limbs, but hands and feet were rare.

What are the symptoms of adult chickenpox?

After the occurrence of chickenpox in adults, the symptoms are more severe than those in children, and the body temperature is higher (> 38.5℃) when fever occurs in prodromal stage, which lasts for 3 ~ 5 days or even longer. The general symptoms are obvious, such as dizziness, headache, muscle pain and fatigue, etc. A large number of rashes can appear within 1 ~ 2 days, with bright red color, many blisters and more easily broken, especially in trunk, face and neck.

What serious complications can adult chickenpox cause?

  • Varicella pneumonia: Mild symptoms only show mild cough, while severe cases may have high fever, chills, chest pain, hemoptysis, cough, dyspnea, etc. Chest auscultation and chest X-ray examination can find abnormalities, most patients can be cured within 1 ~ 2 weeks, and very few patients can die due to lung failure.

  • Varicella encephalitis: Patients may have symptoms such as dizziness, headache, vomiting, lethargy, high fever, convulsions, unstable gait, unclear speech, etc. 80% of patients can fully recover after treatment, and their clinical manifestations are similar to those of viral encephalitis.

  • Secondary infection: If the rash area in the affected part of chickenpox is large, and personal hygiene is not done or anti-infection treatment is not paid attention to, it is easy to cause secondary skin infection, and skin gangrene may occur in severe cases, and septicemia or sepsis may occur in severe cases.


How To Check For Adult Chickenpox.

Suspected chickenpox, what tests do you need?

If you suspect that you have chickenpox, the best way is to go to the dermatology department or infection department of a regular hospital. You can check the blood routine, blood varicella antibody test, blister tissue culture, VZV antigen test and PCR test according to the patient's condition.

Why should we do routine blood test or VZV antigen test and antibody test? What are the precautions for doing these examinations?

Because varicella is a disease caused by virus infection, it can be seen from blood routine examination whether the blood picture is consistent with virus infection or not, and VZV antigen and antibody detection can determine whether varicella virus exists in blister fluid, which can help diagnosis.

Antibody detection is generally best done within 7 ~ 10 days after eruption, and other tests have no special requirements, so long as the disease occurs, it can be checked.

What diseases are adult chickenpox easily confused with? How to distinguish?

Adult varicella is easily confused with papular urticaria and impetigo.

  • Papular urticaria: Most of the disease is caused by mosquito bites. Generally, the rash is an edematous red papule with small blisters in the center. The mouth and scalp are generally not affected, and the itching is severe.

  • Impetigo: It usually occurs in exposed parts such as face and limbs. The rash starts as a blister and then forms a yellow pustule. There is a thick honey yellow scab on the surface of the rash. The blood routine test is consistent with the bacterial infection.

What is the difference between adult varicella and herpes zoster?

These two diseases are caused by varicella-zoster virus. People who are infected for the first time develop varicella, and then the virus will lurk in the human body. When they are tired and have low immunity, they will develop herpes zoster.

  • Chicken pox: The main rash is a small blister with a blush around it, and then the blister is broken and scabbed. The rash is more common in front of chest, back, face and neck, and is distributed diffusely.

  • Herpes zoster: Red patches and blisters distributed in bands and clusters generally only occur on one side of the body, and may be accompanied by nerve symptoms such as burning sensation and pain.


How To Prevent Adult Chickenpox.

How to prevent adult chickenpox?

  • Can go to the epidemic prevention station to vaccinate the varicella vaccine, about 90% effective rate can prevent the occurrence of varicella;

  • If you have chickenpox patients around, you must pay attention to isolation, pay attention to wearing masks and wash your hands frequently.

  • Regular work and rest, no staying up late, no anxiety, balanced diet, guaranteed sleep and more exercise.

How to prevent adult chickenpox patients from infecting others.

As chickenpox is a disease transmitted by respiratory tract, it is suggested that people with chickenpox should be isolated from others, patients and their families should wear masks, and close-fitting clothes and bed sheets and quilts should be washed and disinfected, so as to effectively prevent transmission to others.


How To Treat Adult Chickenpox.

Which department should adults see for chickenpox?

Generally, you need to go to the local infectious disease hospital. If there is no special infectious disease hospital, you can also go to the infection department or dermatology department of the local regular hospital.

Does adult chickenpox need treatment? Can you be good by yourself? How long will it take?

Adults with varicella usually have more severe symptoms than children. Therefore, it is recommended to go to a regular hospital for treatment, and it is necessary to choose a treatment plan according to the patient's condition. Patients are not recommended to treat themselves at home. The course of the disease is about 2 ~ 3 weeks, so it can gradually recover in 2 ~ 3 weeks.

What are the treatments for adult chickenpox? Do you need hospitalization?

  • First, it should be isolated as soon as possible until all rashes are scabbed.

  • According to different patients' conditions, choose oral or intravenous antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir and valaciclovir.

  • It is also necessary to give symptomatic treatment. Antipyretic agents such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used when fever occurs; antihistamines such as cetirizine tablets and loratadine tablets can be taken orally for patients with itchy skin; calamine lotion can be used locally;

  • If the rash is broken, antibiotic ointment can be used externally to prevent infection.

  • In case of severe complications such as viral encephalitis and viral pneumonia, antibiotics and corresponding drugs should be selected according to the patient's condition.

  • Varicella is contagious, so whether hospitalization is needed depends on the illness.

What if pregnant women get chicken pox? Do you need to terminate your pregnancy?

Chickenpox in pregnant women within 20 weeks of pregnancy may cause premature birth, deformity or stillbirth. Therefore, if a pregnant woman has chickenpox, she should immediately go to a maternity hospital or gynecology department for prenatal consultation to determine whether she needs to terminate her pregnancy.

How to do with chickenpox during lactation? Do you need to stop breastfeeding?

Adults have severe symptoms and strong infectivity. If they get chickenpox during lactation, they should be isolated from the children immediately, stop breastfeeding and go to a regular hospital for treatment.

Will adult chickenpox leave scars and sequelae?

Generally, there is no scar left, but if the blister is broken and infected or scratched, there will be scar left.

Under normal circumstances, most varicella patients without complications have a good prognosis and will not have sequelae.

What is the prognosis of adult varicella?

After regular treatment of varicella without complications, the rash gradually scabs and falls off, which can be cured without reexamination. However, if patients have complications, they need to follow the doctor's instructions for re-examination. Serious adult chickenpox or untimely treatment will lead to complications, which will easily lead to adverse consequences.

In addition, some people with abnormal immunity or extremely low immune function may have the possibility of recurrence, such as AIDS patients and malignant tumor patients.


What Should Adult Chickenpox Patients Pay Attention To In Their Lives?

What should adult chickenpox patients pay attention to diet?

  • Eat more digestible food and eat a balanced diet;

  • Try not to eat spicy food and drink more water;

  • Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits;

  • Eat eggs, fish and other protein-rich foods to improve the body's resistance.

What should adult chickenpox pay attention to in life?

  • Regularly work and rest in life, not tired, not staying up late, and staying in bed during the onset of illness;

  • Pay attention to isolation after the onset, and patients and their families should wear masks to prevent transmission to others;

  • Close-fitting clothing should be boiled, disinfected and exposed to the sun, and attention should be paid to ventilation in the room every day.

How long can adult chickenpox be cured and pregnant?

It is recommended to prevent the virus itself and the drugs used to treat the virus from damaging the fetus for more than 3 to 6 months. If necessary, see a doctor in obstetrics and have prenatal consultation.

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