Chickenpox in adults - symptoms and treatment, incubation period

Chickenpox in adultsChickenpox is an infectious disease that is considered childish. However, in some cases, adults can also catch this infectious disease.

Chickenpox is transmitted by airborne droplets at high speed. At the same time, the source of infection is a sick or only infected child or adult. The virus of chickenpox can be picked up, being with a person in the same room.

Symptoms of chickenpox in adults develop much more sharply and more dangerously than in childhood. If a child has chickenpox in mild form, then for adults it is more likely to be a moderate or severe leak. With each passing year and closer to mature, old age, chickenpox is more and more at risk of provoking complications.

To know how to treat chickenpox at home, you need to know how it is manifested in adults, this will help us with the photo. They can easily diagnose the disease, if there is any doubt about the symptomatology.

How can I get infected?

Why does chickenpox occur, and what is it? The source of the virus is a person who is in a state of active disease or only at the end of the incubation period, this period lasts 10-21 days from the moment of infection with the virus. Although the virus is characterized as increased contagion and volatility, but it is completely resistant to the external environment, and therefore, the source of infection, third parties and objects are not.

The virus of chickenpox belongs to the family of herpesviruses and is called Varicella zoster. It spreads by airborne droplets, it is able to travel in the air for meter distances. From the room to the room, including through ventilation, the virus thanks to its small size easily penetrates.

Very dangerous is the occurrence of a bacterial infection against the background of chickenpox, for example, encephalitis. Such conditions can lead even to a lethal outcome. Therefore, it is strictly forbidden to comb rashes, although this is difficult to do. Chickenpox in pregnant women deserves very careful monitoring by doctors. In this case, not only the future mother, but her embryo, is also endangered.

The incubation period

The incubation period (the time that passes from the moment the virus enters the human body to the moment of appearance of the first signs of the disease) of chickenpox lasts from 7 to 20 days. At the end of this period, the patient develops a strong fever that does not subside for 2-3 days.

Symptoms of chicken pox in adults

In adults, the symptoms of chickenpox become more severe, which is manifested in the following:

  • development of severe intoxication of the body;
  • prolonged subfebrile fever;
  • frequent development of complications;
  • involvement in the process of lymph nodes with the development of lymphadenopathy.

It is important to know how chickenpox starts, as the manifestations of the disease on the first day are similar to those of a respiratory infection. The first symptoms of malaise are felt about 30 hours before the appearance of rashes. In addition, the patient is confronted with:

  • headache;
  • subfebrile temperature;
  • aching muscles and joints;
  • general weakness.

After 2-3 days, chickenpox enters the decisive stage - skin rashes. In adults, the following symptoms begin to be traced:

  1. Signs of intoxication of the organism are amplified, the heat rises to 40C, chills, weakness, and so on.
  2. The rash looks like small tubercles of a reddish hue, then they burst, secreting fluid and then form a dried up crust, which, if processed regularly, does not leave a trace.
  3. The patient is enlarged with lymph nodes - bovine, inguinal, submaxillary and axillary, they become painful on palpation.
  4. Wavy flow of rashes, which lasts about 10 days.
  5. If the patient has a very weak immune system, the rash can provoke the development of fasciitis, abscesses and even sepsis.

The course of a typical chickenpox depends on the symptoms and duration and can be:

  1. Light form- 2-4 days (subfebrile condition, small amount of rashes, absence or single elements of the rash on the mucous membranes);
  2. Medium-heavy form4-6 days (signs of intoxication, body temperature - up to 39 degrees, frequent rash, itching);
  3. Heavy Form- More than a week (multiple elements of the rash, temperature - more than 39 degrees, nausea and vomiting, severe itching).

The main danger of varicella for an adult is in its complications. As a rule, they are associated with secondary infection of the body. With the initial symptoms of chickenpox it is necessary to urgently begin drug treatment.

Atypical Current

Atypical form of chicken pox characterized by erased clinical symptoms. The disease proceeds easily, and a slight malaise of the patient is attributed to an ordinary cold. Body temperature is usually normal, there are no symptoms of intoxication.

Such a latent form of chickenpox is observed in those adults who received prophylactic immunoglobulin inoculations. But there are such formidable forms of atypical chickenpox that threaten with serious complications.

Chickenpox in adults: photo

Everyone knows what a chickenpox looks like - it's small red spots on the skin with transparent bubbles in the center. The diameter of the bubbles is 3-5 mm, but in some cases, bubbles merge with each other to form extensive lesions.

If you have never seen chickenpox, we suggest viewing the photos of chicken pox in the initial and other stages.


As shown by medical statistics, 5% of adults who have experienced this infection have consequences from various body systems.

  1. The cardiovascular system(thrombophlebitis, arteritis, myocarditis, excessive thrombosis, hemorrhagic syndrome).
  2. Musculoskeletal department(synovitis, fasciitis, myositis).
  3. Nerve nodes(encephalitis, meningitis, cyst and swelling of the brain, cerebellar ataxia, skeletal muscle paralysis, polyradiculoneuritis). If chickenpox affects the central nervous system, death in adults can occur within 24 hours.
  4. Respiratory system(pneumonia, laryngitis, tracheitis).
  5. Other systemic lesions(hepatic abscesses, hepatitis, nephritis).

During pregnancy, the body of a woman is more susceptible to infection. The consequences of infection with the virus in this period lead not only to the severe course of the disease in the woman herself, the virus is able to hit the baby, which is much worse. In some cases, the fetus is killed or spontaneous interruption occurs.

Treatment of chicken pox in adults

The doctor will determine the severity of the disease and prescribe appropriate therapy. With mild forms of chickenpox, adults have enough treatment at home, in some cases, with a severe form of the disease, hospitalization is necessary.

There are no special medicines to treat chicken pox. The main therapy is prescribed taking into account the general condition of the patient's body and the presence of certain signs of the disease.

To alleviate the symptoms of the course of the disease, it is prescribed:

  1. Bed rest regime is 3-5 days and abundant alkaline drink (with a complicated course longer).
  2. During the illness, you can not wash, this can lead to further spread of the rash to other areas of the skin. A bath or shower can be taken only after three days have elapsed since the appearance of the last bubbles.
  3. Antiviral drugs and interferons can be prescribed for both systemic and topical use.
  4. Treatment of sites of rash with antiseptic drugs to prevent secondary infection, which often accompanies the course of chicken pox in adults.
  5. Treatment of the oral mucosa - rinsing with furicillin and / or sulfacil sodium.
  6. Antihistamines (suprastin, tavegil, etc.);
  7. Antipyretics (ibuprofen, nurofen, or physical methods of cooling - wrapping).
  8. In case of bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

The room in which the period of quarantine passes must necessarily be ventilated. Fresh air will also help reduce itching in rashes. It is important to observe a certain diet during the rash, from which the sharp and fried dishes are excluded. The same goes for salt and smoked foods.

By the end of the disease, the bubble rash will dry up and begin to crumble, in its place will appear gently pink sensitive skin areas. Do not try to speed up the peeling process, otherwise a noticeable scar may remain in place of the dried blister.


Usually, chickenpox people get sick in early childhood, because the pathogen is extremely easily transmitted from person to person. However, some people reach adulthood, and not having immunity to the virus Varicella Zoster.

In order not to get sick it is recommended to undergo a special vaccination, after which lifelong immunity will be developed, as if the patient had had chickenpox. You can be cured even if there was a contact with the patient and no more than 72 hours passed from his time.

Vaccination from chickenpox adults

Postponed in childhood, the disease usually gives a permanent lifelong immunity. But for those who have not had it in childhood, and for those who are at risk for developing severe forms of the disease, there is the possibility of vaccine prevention. Vaccines "Varilrix" and "Okavaks" are officially registered on the territory of Russia.

The vaccine from chicken pox forms in the human body a strong and long-lasting immunity. Suitable for both routine and emergency vaccinations. If the vaccine is introduced within the first 72 hours after the first contact with the patient, then protection against infection is guaranteed almost 100%.

There are no side effects or serious complications in vaccination, so these drugs can be used in people with weakened immunity or with severe chronic diseases.

How many days does chickenpox last?

How many days you need to stay at home directly depends on the severity of the disease and the general state of immunity.

In atypical forms of chicken pox with the development of complications, the duration of treatment can be one and a half to two months or even longer. Complications in the form of phlegmon, abscesses and fasciitis are usually observed in people with weakened immunity. Among them, patients suffering from HIV and other immunodeficient pathologies.

With standard forms of the disease, the patient must observe quarantine for 14 days so as not to become a source of infection for others.

How long does the temperature last?

In adults, the temperature usually passes through 1-3 days. In particularly complex forms of chickenpox, it can reach 40 ° C.

Can I get chickenpox again for an adult?

After the transferred illness, a stable immunity to the Zoster virus is formed. Nevertheless, the body's defense against re-infection is not complete: a characteristic feature of this pathogen is lifelong persistence in the human nerve ganglia.

Therefore, people with immunodeficiency conditions, due to various causes, can recur repeatedly. In this case, the virus leads to the appearance of signs of herpes zoster.

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