What Angelina Jolie can teach you about chicken pox
Angelina Jolie’s recent announcement that the chicken pox would keep her home from her latest movie premiere has brought the virus back into the spotlight.
While chicken pox is less common today compared to a few years ago, for Jolie and other adults, the risk of complications from chicken pox are still much worse for adults compared to children, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These complications can include dehydration, pneumonia, bleeding problems and infection, along with a variety of other conditions. In serious cases, the virus can lead to hospitalization.
“Since the beginning of administration of the vaccine in 1995, hospitalizations have declined by nearly 90 percent, and there have been a small number of fatal cases of chicken pox,” said Dr. Jason S. Applebaum, a dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, in a statement.
An individual is contagious one to two days before the rash is visible until all the blisters have formed into scabs, says the CDC. As a result, those affected may spread the virus without realizing it. After being in contact with someone with chicken pox, it can take between one to three weeks before signs appear.
According to the CDC, signs of chicken pox include:
- Itchy rash that begins on the face and chest before spreading across the body
- High fever
- Loss of appetite
While Jolie’s itchy scabs will disappear in a few weeks, the virus will remain dormant and it could develop into shingles. The CDC says this happens to about one in three people especially the elderly. The CDC recommends that all adults over the age of 60 receive a shingles vaccine.
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