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jennifer75
05-29-2008, 02:35 AM
Anybody know/knew anybody post adolescence that contracted chicken pox? What can you tell me about their symptoms and recovery time?

Mr Flibble
05-29-2008, 02:44 AM
Me.

I got it about 4 years ago. ( even though I had it as a child)

I was delirious for two days, I had spots on my spots, in places you really don't want spots. Ears, nose, throat...other places. It was three to four weeks before I went back to work.

But I never exactly recovered - it screwed with my immune system so much, I developed CFS ( like ME, and often thought to be a reaction to a particularly virulent virus that leaves you permanently 'just getting over it'. The knackered phase after or just getting flu, the hot and cold flushes, the glands like golf balls.) The CFS left me housebound for two years, and I finally went back to work this month, after four years of ill health.

This extreme was probably a bit unusual. :)

Calla Lily
05-29-2008, 02:54 AM
Never had it as a kid, even though my best friend and her 2 sisters got it and I was exposed for weeks. I got it at 26 when I worked at a big university and it was sidelining lots of students.

I got the itchies, then a rash on my legs. Thought it was shingles, as my mom got them a couple months previous. Called the doctor; they said, DON'T come in! Go get Tylenol and Benadryl and let it run its course. That was a week to get a rash everywhere--and I mean everywhere except my eyes and mouth. I hurt, I itched, had headaches and fever and nausea. I never was tempted to scratch, though, because I knew it'd leave scars.

The second week, when I was scabbing and crusting (ew), I got wicked depressed. Not clinical, but weepy and miserable and morose. Enough that my mom called the doctor, who said that depression is a symtom in adults with CP. Fortunately, I recovered with only 3 tiny pockmarks.

TerzaRima
05-29-2008, 05:30 AM
I got it when I was a 23 year old medical student, probably from some little patients. For the first 24 hours, I had the worst fatigue I've ever known--it was like my arms and legs were heavy and I was trying to move through Jello.

Once the rash erupted, I felt much better, just itchy and sedated from my anti-itch meds. It took maybe ten to fourteen days for it all to heal. I have a few small scars on my forehead, but that's all.

Adults do have higher rates of serious chickenpox complications, including pneumonia.

JennaGlatzer
05-29-2008, 05:35 AM
16 probably doesn't count for your purposes, but I did have it twice-- when I was 2 and then when I was 16. I had a terrible case at 16. Still have some scars from it. I remember having those pox EVERYWHERE. Down my throat, in my eyelids... ugh. Just before my sweet 16 party. :) Had to uninvite people who hadn't had it yet!

pdr
05-29-2008, 06:43 AM
the medical experts here clarify something for me.
I understood that chicken pox was not something adults got. That it was a children's disease and the adult form of the disease is slightly different and called shingles.

Fern
05-29-2008, 07:45 AM
That's what I thought too, pdr. Now I'm curious.

jennifer75
05-29-2008, 08:00 AM
I don't understand why children are "supposed" to get it and not adults. But a lucky child can lead to an unlucky adult - as the case with my live in x boyfriend. I had shingles two weeks ago and the doctor told me that as long as I kept the blisters covered and did not exchange bodily fluids (what on earth could he have meant?) he should be fine, since he'd never contracted CP's as a child.

I did so, I kept it covered day and night, did not touch him, did not share food or drink, nothing. And wallah! He's got the pox!
I've got a 6 year old that has had his CP Vaccines but I still am paranoid that he'll contract it too and I'll have that to deal with.

Polenth
05-29-2008, 09:04 AM
Once you catch chickenpox, you never stop having it. It just goes dormant. You don't catch it again. It is simply the virus leaving its dormant state and giving you the symptoms again.

Shingles is chickenpox. It's the mild form that springs up in someone carrying the dormant virus. It normally happens due to the immune system being depressed in some way, such as an illness, stress, etc. You can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles, because it's the same thing.

For an adult to get full-blown chickenpox when they've had it already... it's a bad sign. It means the immune system has gone to France for the week.

The point of this ramble being, you probably want to separate those who had chickenpox for the first time as adults, and those who had extra bouts of chickenpox as adults. There's a good change that the latter group have other medical issues, which depressed the immune system to the point that the chickenpox went on a field day.

So for anyone who's had chickenpox... say hello to your viral lodgers.

cletus
05-29-2008, 01:23 PM
From what my doc told me last year, when Chicken Pox reappears as shingles it usually only affects one nerve. In my case, I had a rash on the right side of my forehead with some serious shooting pains in the area.

johnnysannie
05-29-2008, 03:55 PM
the medical experts here clarify something for me.
I understood that chicken pox was not something adults got. That it was a children's disease and the adult form of the disease is slightly different and called shingles.

No.

Shingles is a disease that adults get but you have to have had chicken pox as a child to contract it. It is based from the same virus but you must have
had chicken pox first to get shingles.

Adults can have chicken pox. I did when I was 30, contracted it from a friend's kid. I never had chicken pox as a kid.

For an adult, the symptoms are much worse. I know - I later nursed all three of my kids through chicken pox, one at a time, over about six weeks.

My first symptom was severe itching and a rash on my upper chest, just above my breasts. By the end of that day I was covered in rash from head to foot and ran a high fever for several days. Of course I could not go to work - my employers would not allow it since chicken pox is highly contagious.

Between the really ill period - which lasted about four days - it was a good two weeks before all the scabs came off.

At the time, I sat outside in the sun and "let" the scabs come out although that's not the conventional medical advice. It was, however,the advice of my (at the time) SO's mom, an old Cajun lady. Her theory was that if you let the pox erupt outwardly they won't erupt internally (which can happen).

I was miserable and itched like crazy once the worst period of high fever ended.

BarbaraKE
05-29-2008, 05:10 PM
Once you catch chickenpox, you never stop having it. It just goes dormant. You don't catch it again. It is simply the virus leaving its dormant state and giving you the symptoms again.

Shingles is chickenpox. It's the mild form that springs up in someone carrying the dormant virus.

Polenth is correct although I wouldn't exactly call shingles a 'mild' form. It does attack (usually one) nerve but can be excruciatingly painful. Not a little, a LOT!!

My boss (who was in her late-thirties at the time) caught it from her daughter. She was out of work one day short of six weeks. I don't know all the details (and its been a while) but it hit her hard.

Mike Martyn
05-29-2008, 08:58 PM
As an aside, when I was a small child circa 1950's, my mother found out that her friend's children had chicken pox. So my mother send me and my sister over to play so that we could contract the disease since everyone knew it was milder in children.

The same applied to measles. These little play groups were called "Chicken pox parties " or "Measles parties" depending on the disease.

Back then there were no vaccines for chicken pox, measles or for that matter polio. This latter was variously thought to have been caused in children by getting too cold, or too hot, running through the sprinkler when it was too hot or too cold etc, etc.

TerzaRima
05-29-2008, 09:21 PM
I understood that chicken pox was not something adults got.

Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by the same virus--the varicella zoster virus, which is in the herpes virus family. Chickenpox is the primary, or first infection with varicella, which is why we think of it as a children's disease (or we did before there was an immunization). Most people used to be exposed as children, and it was unusual to make it to adolescence and adulthood without having had a primary varicella infection.

Once you have had chickenpox, the virus becomes latent in the sensory portion of your nervous system. Shingles is a secondary, or reactivated varicella infection--when the virus moves from a latent to an active state. It is unclear why this happens to some people, but clearly it is associated with compromised immune systems--people with AIDS, people on chemo, organ transplant patients. Also it's very common in the elderly.

jennifer75
05-29-2008, 09:33 PM
Polenth is correct although I wouldn't exactly call shingles a 'mild' form. It does attack (usually one) nerve but can be excruciatingly painful. Not a little, a LOT!!

My boss (who was in her late-thirties at the time) caught it from her daughter. She was out of work one day short of six weeks. I don't know all the details (and its been a while) but it hit her hard.

I hear that! I got it from extreme stress. Then gave my X the chicken pox. His is an odd case - he is hispanic so darker skin made it hard to see the flat red bumps that he should have had before the raised ones which are what he noticed first on his forehead and scalp. That was Tuesday night. By last night he had them down to his toes and is real itchy. He only had a fever, and a light one he says, Tuesday night. He's taking benedril and wearing calamine lotion and had been taking tylenol. He just this morning decided to try out cortizone cream to sooth the dryness on his face from the calamine.

How long till his itching goes away?

Also, my 6 year old I'm assuming has had all the vaccinations for CP's, right? I should know this, but can't recall what he's had, and if it is required for Kindergarten. I want to say yes. He's been around me and my shingles, and his father with the CP's now, and no signs...

johnnysannie
05-29-2008, 09:57 PM
I hear that! I got it from extreme stress. Then gave my X the chicken pox. His is an odd case - he is hispanic so darker skin made it hard to see the flat red bumps that he should have had before the raised ones which are what he noticed first on his forehead and scalp. That was Tuesday night. By last night he had them down to his toes and is real itchy. He only had a fever, and a light one he says, Tuesday night. He's taking benedril and wearing calamine lotion and had been taking tylenol. He just this morning decided to try out cortizone cream to sooth the dryness on his face from the calamine.

How long till his itching goes away?

Also, my 6 year old I'm assuming has had all the vaccinations for CP's, right? I should know this, but can't recall what he's had, and if it is required for Kindergarten. I want to say yes. He's been around me and my shingles, and his father with the CP's now, and no signs...


My three kids all had the chicken pox vaccination but they all three came down with chicken pox when exposed to it. Their cases may have been slightly lighter than a child who hasn't had it but it wasn't by much, if at all.

slcboston
05-29-2008, 10:00 PM
I got it my junior year in college. I have to say, for all the horror stories about getting it later, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have to resort to oatmeal baths or anything else - and all things considered I think I got off fairly easily in the whole affair.

Keyan
05-29-2008, 11:59 PM
Someone I know got it when she was in her late forties. Surprisingly, it seemed quite mild. She was miserable for a few days, but up and about in a week or so.

Velma deSelby Bowen
05-30-2008, 12:14 AM
My fiance got it two years ago, even though his mother swears he had it as a kid. Mostly exhaustion, and fever, and small welts, that never broke open, but he was very unhappy for about a month afterwards.

My brother has had it three times (at least) as an adult, the last time in his mid-thirties. It never manifests as shingles for him, mercifully, just the pox.

Fern
05-30-2008, 01:07 AM
Isn't shingles the thing you get that they say should only be on one side of your body at a time? I remember hearing something about if it goes all way around you're in serious trouble. Not sure I have the right illness, but I think it was shingles I heard that about

Tiger
05-30-2008, 03:44 AM
Anybody know/knew anybody post adolescence that contracted chicken pox? What can you tell me about their symptoms and recovery time?

I was 35. I got it at my doctor's office (an allergist sharing space with a pediatrician). Started feeling feverish and slightly rotten. I found a blister on my back, which made me realize that I'd never had the curse as a child.

I stocked up on gatorade, benadryl, and some foodstuffs, then proceeded to spend the next two weeks ignoring the food and walking into walls at night. I'd never been so sick.

People often ask if I was unbearably itchy. Nope. I didn't even notice the blisters.

Keyboard Hound
05-30-2008, 04:53 AM
Shingles usually hit one group of nerves on one side of the body. They can be anything from irritating to fatal and if they affect the right nerves, they can lead to blindness. My cousin works in a rest home, and one of her patients is brain dead as a result of shingles.

I had a bad case of them four years ago. The area from my ears down to the the top part of my chest and breasts were affected, but only on one side. The sensations from the shingles range from feeling like a fly is alighting on the skin to feeling like a bee has sit down and is stinging repeatedly. In addition, large oozing sores developed complete with shooting pains trough the area. Shingles also affect the bones under the area, and cause severe muscle pain. My arm on the side of the shingle attack was really weak for a long time, and it's still not as strong as my other arm.

In my case, I first went to the doctor thinking I'd thrown my shoulder out. The doctor at first thought I was having a heart attack. Then I happened to flip my hair back from my face and he saw the breaking out on my ears and neck. I had not even mentioned it to him because I thought it was a reaction to a plant allergy and would go away on its own. I had no idea it was related to the pain in my shoulder. I was really lucky he saw the skin erupting because he was already making arrangements to send me to the hospital when he realized it was shingles. I did start taking the preventive medicine in the time it needs to be started and have no idea how bad the shingles would have been if I hadn't taken it in time.

After four years, I'm still bothered by the areas the shingles affected. If I go from a hot room to the cold outside, the skin reacts with itching and stinging. The same from cold to hot. Some days I'll scratch until I bleed. It feels better hurting than it does itching.

Never make light of shingles or dismiss them casually. The illness is entirely different from chicken pox, and it's serious business for some people who contact them.

jennifer75
05-30-2008, 08:53 AM
My three kids all had the chicken pox vaccination but they all three came down with chicken pox when exposed to it. Their cases may have been slightly lighter than a child who hasn't had it but it wasn't by much, if at all.

How light? What symptoms did they have?

jennifer75
05-30-2008, 08:57 AM
I got it my junior year in college. I have to say, for all the horror stories about getting it later, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have to resort to oatmeal baths or anything else - and all things considered I think I got off fairly easily in the whole affair.

Well, I think the X may be in the same boat as you - his itching has stopped and it's only day 2. No new outbreaks, he's drying out, and recovering. Had a mild fever this evening but nothing major.

I on the otherhand, am PARANOID! Every twitch and I swear I've contracted the pox. I got a little sunburn from the drive home from work and swear its chicken pox that I'm feeling on my skin. It's horrible. Stress man. It'll kill ya.

CCE
05-30-2008, 09:04 AM
I didn't get it until I was 38 years old! I had been expoed to it numerous times before inlcuding my childhood and then my own daughter (who by the way had it THREE times!); when both she and my son had it, I caught it.

The doctor waited until I was completely broken out (about 3 days in) and then he prescribed some medication (antiviral) - it cleared it up immediately. Since I have asthma, he said he wanted me to have enough to develop an immunity and then help me get over it. It worked.

jennifer75
05-30-2008, 09:06 AM
Isn't shingles the thing you get that they say should only be on one side of your body at a time? I remember hearing something about if it goes all way around you're in serious trouble. Not sure I have the right illness, but I think it was shingles I heard that about

Yes you heard right. Shingles one side only. Where is the question. I had mine on my left hip, it wrapped around to the left side of my back above the cheek :P and around the front just below my belly and above the *pubic region, then down my left thigh about mid-way.

My doctor told me it would ONLY effect one side of my body, he ALSO told me that if I kept the blisters covered my X wouldn't contract it. He was wrong on one count. However, 5 days of meds was just what I needed and the pain was gone, and like I said below, 3 wks later I only have a mild scab to prove the shingles were ever there.

PS the X just told me after removing his shirt that he had more on his chest and stomache than he did this morning. So, who knows.

jennifer75
05-30-2008, 09:28 AM
The sensations from the shingles range from feeling like a fly is alighting on the skin to feeling like a bee has sit down and is stinging repeatedly.

Thank you! That is so how it felt!


I did start taking the preventive medicine in the time it needs to be started and have no idea how bad the shingles would have been if I hadn't taken it in time.

I started meds on day 4. Thursday morning I notice a few red bumps very similar to a spider bite cluster. Friday it doubled in size. But no pain or itch. Just bumps. Saturday it tripled and became swolen around the bumps and I noticed I had small clusters forming around the area. Sunday not much change, except the sensitivity in my skin. Almost a burning sensation, but more a pain. And still very much a surface feeling. Monday I went in to the doctor because I'd been told by friends that it sounded and looked like shingles.
Doc said it was, gave me meds, and within 5 days they had blistered and I was pain free.


After four years, I'm still bothered by the areas the shingles affected. If I go from a hot room to the cold outside, the skin reacts with itching and stinging. The same from cold to hot. Some days I'll scratch until I bleed. It feels better hurting than it does itching.

My aunt had shingles after her father, my grandfather died, so from stress and anxiety and probably a poor diet. She was treated and still has occurances. She swears that if she eats too much chocolate, she gets a reaction at the site.


Never make light of shingles or dismiss them casually. The illness is entirely different from chicken pox, and it's serious business for some people who contact them.

It was depressing to think of "how" I'd contracted them. It is serious, and to think that it can come back is scary. The pain is hard to describe, I've only been able to even slightly compare it to one thing - the days after child birth when your body comes down from the swelling and it starts feeling like what it has just been through and you start feeling stitches.....yea, that's a close second on the how much does it hurt scale.

Tsu Dho Nimh
05-30-2008, 05:17 PM
Anybody know/knew anybody post adolescence that contracted chicken pox? What can you tell me about their symptoms and recovery time?

The two I knew (co-workers) caught it from their children. Symptoms and recovery were the usual, nothing spectacular.

If this is for a plot, you have license to inflict anything from a mild case to hospitalized with encephalitis in ICU on your character. And scarring is variable.

Tsu Dho Nimh
05-30-2008, 05:39 PM
the medical experts here clarify something for me.
I understood that chicken pox was not something adults got. That it was a children's disease and the adult form of the disease is slightly different and called shingles.

The primary infection - rash, crusty healing, etc. - is chickenpox.

Resurgent virus causes a different set of symptoms - shingles.

inkkognito
05-30-2008, 06:28 PM
I got chicken pox around age 30. It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life! I could tell I was coming down with something. It felt like coming down with the flu, only three times worse. I got the lousy pox all over my body and even in my throat. That was definitely the worst of it because I could barely swallow. I don't remember how long the ordeal lasted, but I still have scars on my stomach.

5KidsMom
06-01-2008, 11:02 AM
Many years ago we had a baby in the unit whose mom got chickenpox while she was pregnant. We got the baby and isolated him for 3 weeks, assuming he would break out. He never did, went home absolutely fine.

His mom got varicella pneumonia and died.

pdr
06-01-2008, 05:50 PM
I've learnt a lot.

jennifer75
06-04-2008, 10:23 PM
My son - 6 yrs old and fully vaccinated prior to entering Preschool - has a very mild case I'm guessing of the Chicken Pox.

He has very small colorless bumps in clusters on both shoulders, and a few here and there on his back and arms.

They itch, a little, nothing real bothersome to him, but I'm guessing the vaccine is working just enough to keep him from getting it full blast, but the virus is finding a way to escape his body through these bumps?

I've also noticed a few of these bumps - very small, itchless and colorless bumps. I've had full blown chicken pox as a kid and well, I just had the shingles.

What I'm curious about is this: if these tiny bumps my son and I have are chicken pox, are we contagious?

donroc
06-04-2008, 11:04 PM
Me.

I got it about 4 years ago. ( even though I had it as a child)

I was delirious for two days, I had spots on my spots, in places you really don't want spots. Ears, nose, throat...other places. It was three to four weeks before I went back to work.

But I never exactly recovered - it screwed with my immune system so much, I developed CFS ( like ME, and often thought to be a reaction to a particularly virulent virus that leaves you permanently 'just getting over it'. The knackered phase after or just getting flu, the hot and cold flushes, the glands like golf balls.) The CFS left me housebound for two years, and I finally went back to work this month, after four years of ill health.

This extreme was probably a bit unusual. :)

Same here. Got it at 8 and again at age 52 in Brazil. Forehead swelled, got a shot of B-12 and something else and used egg whites to clear everything. Fortunately, all was okay afterwards.

jennifer75
06-07-2008, 12:44 AM
Thanks everyone for your posts and sharing experiences with this. The X's pox are pretty much gone now he's been out and about for 2 days now and feeling fine. My sons itsy bitsy bumps never turned into anything more than itsy bitsy bumps, and he doesn't seem to be scratching any more. So all in all, the pox are gone.

CCE
06-20-2008, 08:39 AM
I had chicken Pox for the first time (although I was exposed MANY times as a child) when I was about 38years old. I caught it when both of my kids had it (my daughter for her FOURTH time!).

Since I am an asthmatic, the doctor did not want it to run its full course, too afraid of it affecting my lungs. He aloowed the rashes/pimples to just barely come out and then treated me with Zovirax, an anti-viral. Once I took the medicine, I was over it in 3 daysand supposedly have the immunity now.