Varicella in adults: attention danger!
If chickenpox is a bad time to spend during childhood between fever, discomfort and especially itching, this disease is nevertheless benign. Due to the varicella-zoster virus it is even (almost!) An obligatory passage as it is contagious. But there are nevertheless 60 000 cases of varicella in adults each year in France, with a predominance of patients aged 30 to 35 years and therefore contaminated ... by their children. It can be accompanied by serious and potentially life-threatening complications and therefore requires increased surveillance.
The complications of chicken pox in adults
The primary symptoms of the disease are the same as in children but are often amplified: fever, fatigue and of course rash with the appearance of small vesicles. If adults, unlike children, can more easily reason and not scratch the pimples, thus avoiding scars, they can unfortunately face other symptoms. People who are chronically ill or immunocompromised are also more likely to suffer serious complications.
It should be monitored, within 4 to 5 days after the eruption, that the patient does not begin to cough. A cough, sometimes accompanied by bloody sputum and chest pain, can be a predictor of varicella pneumonia, a serious and potentially serious complication. She asks for a rapid care and often a hospitalization with an injection of antiviral drugs. It can be deadly in very rare cases.
Chickenpox: neurological complications
The chickenpox virus can cause a meningitis or encephalitis. These neurological attacks can then be accompanied by convulsions and disorders of consciousness that can leave sequelae. They are nevertheless rare.
A real danger for pregnant women
Controlling chickenpox during pregnancy is both dangerous for the mother-to-bewho exposes himself to the complications we have just mentioned, but also the fetus. The risk is especially important for the unborn baby if he is exposed to the virus between the sixth and the 22nd week of pregnancy. It can then develop, in 6 to 8% of the cases, a congenital chickenpox which can be at the origin of malformations, a retardation of growth and development of the brain but also of lesions at the ophthalmic level. If the contamination occurs in the days before or after delivery, then it is called neonatal chickenpox, exposing the baby to pulmonary and neurological complications.
Chickenpox: think about the vaccine!
There is a vaccine against chickenpox. In the United States, it is systematically offered to children but its administration is much rarer in France. It is generally reserved for adults, who are more vulnerable to the disease, and of course particularly women of childbearing age who would not have suffered from chicken pox in childhood. It consists of two successive injections at 1 month interval. The vaccine can also be done post-exposure for adults.
Read also :
⋙ Treatment of chickenpox: how to treat this contagious disease?
⋙ Chicken pox buttons: 10 natural tips to avoid scars
⋙ Chickenpox: 6 grandmother's tricks to relieve symptoms