If you are in the dark about shingles and chicken pox in adults then you're in the right place. It's good to know the facts, so that you know what to expect. If you have already had shingles or chicken pox then you may have already experienced breakouts, but are curious and want to know more. Personally, I have had both shingles and chicken pox and still have shingles breakouts occasionally. The chicken pox virus hit me when I was 8 years old and my first outbreak of shingles in my twenties. I know they say shingles are more common in the elderly; however, I am one of those who had shingles outbreaks at a young age.
Shingles and chicken pox in adults can be scary, painful and even embarrassing, especially when it comes time to be intimate and clothes start coming off. Shingles and chicken pox can both leave scars that don't go away. Actually, shingles lesions after they heal, look like skin discoloration or the red phase of bruises. At any rate, they're not pretty and you will want to hide them. I can remember avoiding intimacy because I had a breakout and didn't want shingles blisters to be seen or felt.
Chicken pox in adults is rare and more likely to occur in children under the age of 10. These days with the availability of the chicken pox vaccine it is unlikely that kids will get it either. Also, know that usually shingles develops in those who have had chicken pox as a child. The virus lies dormant and if triggered by stress or a weakened immune system it can flare up and shingles will be the result.
Stress and Shingles
Stress in and of itself doesn't cause shingles the virus must already be there waiting for a reason to come to life. What happens is that stress weakens the immune system and this is what causes shingles lesions to appear. For this reason, if you're an adult that had chicken pox as a child then you need to keep stress to a minimum. From my experience a shingles outbreak can occur in less than 24 hours after a stressful situation. In fact, my mother does the same thing if she gets anxious and stressed the very next day she has an itchy shingles rash followed by burning blisters that form within 48 hours.
To minimize shingles outbreaks we must first know what our stress triggers are and avoid them if possible. This means people, places or things, whatever it is that makes you anxious or nervous. On the other hand, we also know what relaxes us or brings peace of mind, so we should focus on those things. At times it is impossible to side step stress, but these times are few and far between if we live a balanced life. It is when we live on the edge and don't take care of our body and mind as we should that the immune system is weakened causing painful shingles blisters to come out of their coma.
Are Shingles and Chicken Pox in Adults Contagious
As mentioned above, a person who had had chicken pox as a child can develop shingles later in life. It is not common to contract shingles from another person, but is possible. When the blisters are in their active stage filled with fluid and they come into contact skin to skin it is possible. However, once shingles blisters scab over they are no longer a threat and are not contagious.
Chicken pox is typically quite contagious the first 2-5 days as the rash, followed by blisters, appears. They're itchy and lesions are very similar to shingles sores, they itch, burn and can be painful. Ultimately, like shingles, they scab and heal within 10-14 days and are no longer contagious.
If you have never had chicken pox as a child and are now an adult you can get chicken pox from a child or an adult, so don't assume you can't get it just because you're an adult. If you have had your chicken pox vaccine you may be safe, but if it were me I wouldn't chance it. Anything can happen and it's not worth the risk to get chicken pox and be susceptible to shingles as well.
Where Do You Get Shingles and Chicken Pox Blisters
When it comes to shingles and chicken pox in adults blisters or sores may develop any place on the body. Chicken pox sores tend to breakout on the trunk of the body first then face, arms and legs. They itch and it's best to not scratch or touch them with hands or they may spread, as well as cause infection and scarring. Use Q-tips and wear gloves to apply topical ointment or calamine.
Shingles blisters are most common on the buttocks and trunk of the body. However, they may appear anywhere and are painful. As with chicken pox it is best not to have skin to skin contact or you risk spreading when they're in the contagious stage. Use Q-tips or cotton balls to apply calamine and never use hot water to wash them. Cool water helps relieve pain from hot burning shingle sores.
Don't be surprised if shingles sores spread to another part of the body without your help. Although shingles sores many times stay on one side of the body they can move to the other side. Remember, when you lead a balanced healthy lifestyle and control stress shingles breakouts are minimal.
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