Angelina Jolie revealed that she contracted chickenpox and has generally received light-hearted coverage in the media. After all, it’s considered a children’s disease. But in adults it can lead to serious complications.
Chickenpox is usually mild and runs its course in five to 10 days. A vaccine has been available since 1995.
But when teens and adults get it, serious complications could follow.
People with weakened immune systems or who are undernourished are especially susceptible to developing serious complications, the Web site says.
First-Hand Stories of Adult Chickenpox Complications
I contracted chickenpox on thanksgiving morning 1 month before my 30th birthday. I was vaccinated young so I couldn’t believe that I had it. I went through 14 days of staying in bed, on prednisone, acyclovir, and Keflex. It’s been 3 years since that experience and I have developed rheumatoid arthritis, celiac, and most recently Crohn’s. Before this, I was a healthy woman, a runner and full of energy. Now during a flare up I am exhausted, can’t get my weight above 106 (used to be 134 5’2). I am being treated by amazing physicians.
I’m 36 and was just diagnosed with chickenpox. Symptoms almost exactly as described on websites — 2 days of fever/flu-like symptoms followed by red spots on face/scalp, followed by blisters centered on torso and head and then appearing on back. My fever has been around 101-102 for the full time, though it seems to be easing off now and bigger problem is aches/itching and minor headache/eye strain.
I was 37 years old. First symptom was feeling queasy and unable to eat… No itching and only four sores on my wrist. I was never so sick in my whole life. After that ordeal was over, I developed secondary arthritis for weeks. I couldn”t even wear shoes, only sandals due to severe swelling in feet and legs. Felt like I was 90 years old when I tried to get out of bed each morning. I don”t wish this on anyone. If you are an adult and haven”t had chicken pox, please get the shot!
Among the most common complications are skin infections, pneumonia, swelling of the brain and serious joint information.
A 37-year-old woman related her experience with the virus on medicinenet.com, a medical information site, and said she “was never so sick in my whole life.”
Her biggest problems came from a complication. “I developed secondary arthritis for weeks. I couldn”t even wear shoes, only sandals due to severe swelling in feet and legs.
“[I] felt like I was 90 years old when I tried to get out of bed each morning. I don”t wish this on anyone. If you are an adult and haven”t had chicken pox, please get the shot!” she advised.
Jolie also faces the likelihood of contracting shingles later in life.
The chickenpox vaccine is considered very effective. Between 70 percent and 90 percent of those vaccinated become immune. For those vaccinated who did get the illness symptoms will be very mild and only last for a few days, according to WebMD.
Jolie posted a video on YouTube explaining her illness, which has been viewed almost 5 million times. She was concerned because the illness is causing her to miss events surrounding her new movie “Unbroken. ”
“I just wanted to be clear and honest about why I will be missing the ‘Unbroken’ events in the next few days,” she explained in the video, posted on Friday (Dec. 12).
“But such is life, there it is,” she concluded. “And, um, send everyone my love and hope everything goes well.”
Jolie’s new movie, “Unbroken,” which is based on the bestselling book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, opens Dec. 25.