Adult Chicken Pox
Caring for Someone with Adult Chicken Pox
While most people think of the disease as a childhood affliction many contract adult chicken pox each year, and the disease is even more serious in adults.
While the disease usually comes and go without serious incident, there are up to 100 deaths per year related to adult chicken pox.
Caring for someone suffering through this illness is important in order to keep them comfortable and to help them resist the urge to scratch the hundreds of blisters that will appear over their bodies. If they scratch, they greatly increase the chances that permanent scarring will be left behind.
When caring for someone with adult chicken pox, you should also be mindful of signs that the illness is taking a potentially more serious course.
You should look at the blisters each day to be sure that there are no signs of infection. If something doesn’t look right, call the doctor immediately.
Other symptoms that warrant a visit to the doctor include diarrhea, dehydration, trouble breathing, high fever and vomiting. If any of those symptoms appear, do not wait. Call the doctor or emergency room right away.
Here are some tips to keep your patient with adult chicken pox as comfortable as possible.
As mentioned earlier, when one scratches the blisters that form as a result of chicken pox, it can cause permanent scarring. It can also contribute the blisters becoming infected. To help prevent scratching, keep the nails trimmed. Also, if the person just won’t or can’t stop scratching, consider asking them to wear mittens.
Applying calamine lotion regularly is a good way to help ease the itching as is bathing them in an oatmeal bath.
Cool compresses changed regularly and applied to the most annoying of the blisters may also prove helpful.
Because the person infected may be so miserable that they do not feel like eating, it is important to make sure that they do. Remember, that dehydration is a side effect that calls for immediate medical attention. To minimize this risk, be sure that the patient is given plenty of liquids, even if they do not feel like eating.
What About You?
It is important to remember that an adult who has never had chicken pox has a very good chance of contracting the disease by being in close contact with someone who has it.
There is a vaccine that can minimize your chances of contracting the disease. If you are a member of a high risk group, such as being over the age of 60 or having a compromised immune system, you should get the shot.
Keep in mind that the vaccine will not be effective immediately, so talk to your doctor about how long you should wait before being around the infected person.
If there are no serious complications, caring for someone with adult chicken pox mostly involves keeping the person comfortable, watching for other symptoms and trying to prevent scratching.
As miserable as adult chicken pox is, it usually passes without lasting effects.