Chickenpox in Adults: Symptoms, Treatments & Why You Should Get Vaccinated

Get an Adult Chickenpox Vaccine in Bedfordshire

Chickenpox, often considered a childhood rite of passage, can also affect adults with potentially more severe consequences. While it may seem like a harmless illness, adult chickenpox can lead to complications and discomfort. If you haven’t had chickenpox before and you are concerned about contracting it as an adult, please keep reading! This article explores the symptoms, treatments, and importance of getting an adult chickenpox vaccine in Bedfordshire to help protect you if you haven’t had chickenpox before.

The Resurgence of Chickenpox in Adults

Chickenpox is primarily known as a childhood illness, but recent years have seen an increase in the number of adults contracting the disease. This rise can be attributed to several factors, including waning immunity from childhood vaccinations or natural infections and close contact with infected children or adults.

Symptoms of Adult Chickenpox

The symptoms of adult chickenpox are similar to those in children, but they can be more severe. Initially, you may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite. As the illness progresses, a red rash develops, which turns into itchy blisters that eventually crust over. These blisters can be widespread and more painful in adults compared to children.


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Complications of Adult Chickenpox

Adults are more prone to complications from chickenpox than children. These complications can include bacterial skin infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (brain inflammation), hepatitis (liver inflammation), and even death in severe cases. Pregnant women who contract chickenpox are at risk of complications affecting both themselves and their unborn children.

Treatments for Adult Chickenpox

There is no specific cure for chickenpox, but treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and preventing secondary infections. Over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines, and calamine lotion can help reduce itching and discomfort. Maintaining good hygiene, such as keeping the affected areas clean and wearing loose-fitting clothing, can minimise the risk of bacterial infections.

Importance of Vaccination

Vaccination against chickenpox is crucial, not only during childhood but also for adults who have not been vaccinated or previously infected. The chickenpox vaccine is highly effective in preventing the disease or reducing its severity if contracted. By getting vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but also contribute to the community’s overall immunity, especially for those who are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical conditions.

Vaccination Recommendations for Adults

Adults who have never had chickenpox or been vaccinated against it should consider getting vaccinated. The vaccine, typically given in two doses, is safe and well-tolerated. It is essential for certain high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, teachers, pregnant women (before pregnancy), and individuals with weakened immune systems, to receive the vaccine to avoid severe complications.


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The difference between children and adult chickenpox vaccines

While chickenpox is often seen as a childhood illness, it can pose significant risks to adults. The chickenpox vaccine used for adults and children is essentially the same, as it protects against the same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. However, there may be slight differences in the recommended dosage and administration schedule based on age and individual circumstances.

Dosage: Children typically receive two doses of the chickenpox vaccine. The first dose is administered around 12-15 months of age, while the second dose is given between the ages of 4-6 years. On the other hand, adults who have not been vaccinated or previously infected may require two doses of the vaccine as well, but the timing may be different. The specific dosage and timing can vary based on factors such as the individual’s health status and vaccination history.

Administration: The chickenpox vaccine is typically administered as an injection. The vaccine is often given to young children as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule. In adults, the vaccine can be administered by a healthcare professional in your local community pharmacy.

Varicella-Zoster Immune Globulin (VZIG): In certain cases, such as when an unvaccinated person is exposed to chickenpox, varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be used as a preventive measure or to lessen the severity of the disease. VZIG contains antibodies against the varicella-zoster virus and is derived from blood plasma. It is more commonly used for high-risk individuals, such as pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. In this instance, you will need to receive treatment from your GP.

It’s important to consult with a member of our team to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule and dosage based on individual circumstances. We can help you with this in your first vaccination appointment. If you would like to speak with us prior to booking an appointment then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team will provide personalised guidance and ensure that the vaccination is administered correctly and at the recommended intervals.

Remember, vaccination is a highly effective way to protect against chickenpox and its potential complications, regardless of age.

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This blog was written on behalf of C&H Barton Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor