- Written by Queen Munguti for Kenyakidz
The viral and contagious disease, chicken pox, which is mostly considered a children’s disease can also affect adults.
“An adult with chicken pox has the same symptoms as those of a child,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Macharia, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert. “In adults though, it is more severe compared to children.”
According to a fact sheet tilted, ‘Facts About Chickenpox and Shingles for Adults’ by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, adults are more likely than children to die from chickenpox and have serious complications resulting from virus infection because they have weakened immune systems.
It is even more severe to pregnant women. If a pregnant woman gets chicken pox during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is a one in a 100 chance risk of her baby having serious birth defects such as shortening and scarring of limbs, cataracts, small head size, abnormal development of the brain and mental retardation.
“The symptoms will also be the same for pregnant women,” said Dr Anne –Marie. “And immunization during pregnancy is not recommended as it is live attenuated vaccine. If a pregnant woman gets chicken pox early on in the pregnancy, it may result in severe malformations for the baby or miscarriage. Later in pregnancy it will cause a rash and severe pneumonia among other symptoms.”
On the hand, Dr Anne- Marie said that chicken pox does not cause male infertility if a man contracts it as an adult or even as a child.
Chicken pox symptoms include; itchy red rash covering the whole body, body ache, fever and fatigue. The rash can also spread into the mouth or other internal parts of the body.