Chickenpox infection rarely causes complications, but can result in hospitalization. This infection is not always harmless, can cause death among children in rare cases. The introduction of varicella vaccine in 1995 has made this infection less severe as well as reducing hospitalization by nearly 90%. The most severe complications associated with chickenpox affect males more than females.
Both adult and infant males have an equally high risk of infection and complication. Complications are also categorized according to the source of infection. Infection caused from within the family show more severe symptoms and can result in severe complications than infections that come from outside the family.
Specific chicken pox complications come with the following common symptoms, although this disease is usually mild:
- Results to high risk of secondary bacterial infection
- High level of body dehydration
- High risk of pneumonia
- High risk of encephalitis
- High risk of toxic shock syndrome and
- Reye’s syndrome is highly likely to occur in patients who are taking aspirin.
The varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox. This infection is highly contagious because it spread quickly. Those at risk of catching the infections are those individuals who have not had chickenpox before. These patients are always at high risk of developing complications as compared to those who have already developed immunity for the same.
Those who have not been vaccinated for chickenpox and adults who live with children who are yet to be infected are also at risk of infection and complication. Vaccination or healing from the first infection is the best protection from infection. Also, it is not uncommon to see individuals who get chicken pox even after the first incidence of vaccination. However, repeat infection is always mild and does not cause concern for complication.
Understanding the two categories of risk factors is important in saving a life. Although rare, complications can cause death. Those risk factors that are highly likely to get complication are the newborns of mothers who have not had chickenpox before or mothers who have not had the vaccine.
Adults who have not had chickenpox or vaccinated and are immediately interacting with children who are infected have a high risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. People with compromised immune systems or those taking drugs that suppress the immune system have a high risk of developing severe complications. Due to the severity of complications associated with chickenpox infection in this second category of risk factors, they need more attention for the vaccine.