Everyone knows you should get chickenpox as a child. Do whatever you can do to avoid getting chickenpox as an adult. Why? It can be pretty dangerous for some adults (especially for pregnant women) to get chickenpox. Some parents expose their children to other kids who have chickenpox to avoid the danger of a child not having chickenpox and getting it in their adult years.
Once you have it, it’s done, you can’t catch it again. Simple and easy. However, some might not get chickenpox as children and then later in their life they can contract it from their children or someone else who has chickenpox. For adults, it can be even deadly to have chickenpox and the risk increases as you get older.
Why chickenpox is so much worse and dangerous for adults than for children? Well, this is probably the least satisfying answer you might expect. Adults are more prone to experiencing difficulties when it comes to any type of illness when compared to children. What does this mean for chickenpox? An adult who never had chickenpox before, if he starts getting itchy blisters, they will have more issues than a child where chickenpox is almost perceived as just an uncomfortable inconvenience. Adults will probably have side-effects such as hepatitis, encephalitis, and pneumonia while children will go through chickenpox without any major side-effects. For adults, the risk of these side effects is higher and even worse for men.
The listed side-effects are dangerous in their own way but why are adults more likely to pick up some of the dangerous side effects of these diseases? Some experts believe that the reason behind this is a difference between the immune system of children and adults. Children’s immune system is dominated by phagocytes which are cells that can “eat” any foreign material and destroy it while an adult’s immune system has to employ way more antibodies to attach microbial invaders and as an organism gets older it has to employ more and more antibodies.
Dr. John Swartzburg, a clinical professor has different suggestions about why adults can’t handle chickenpox as easily as children. He believes that all viruses and our bodies have a pseudo-symbolic relationship that can be unbalanced if a person gets a certain disease at the wrong time. There is a right time for everything including any disease that you must or should get. It’s not only chickenpox, there are many other diseases which have “easier to handle” time frames. For example, polio doesn’t have to be the child-killer disease as long as you get it young enough. If children get a disease at a somewhat later stage, the effects could be deadly while infants can handle it better than a seven-year-old would. It’s important to stress that Dr. Swartzburg pointed out that his theory is just a speculation.
If you are an adult who never had chickenpox, here is some good news. Despite the widely held belief that everyone should get chickenpox young so that they don’t contract the disease later in their lives, that’s not necessarily the truth. We have an effective chickenpox vaccine. You can just get the shot! Many prefer not to get the shot since you have it as a child, but it is advisable for adults to get the shot to avoid difficult side-effects.
If you have chickenpox as an adult, drink a lot of water, take medications such as Benadryl and ibuprofen which can help you with itching and fever. Also, there is nothing like an oatmeal bath and calamine lotion to soothe those itchy spots.