Chickenpox is a common childhood ailment that is more of a threat to one’s complexion than one’s health. For those who escaped chickenpox growing up and caught the virus as adults like Angelina Jolie, however, the experience can be far worse and more painful than for other pint-sized patients.
Jolie recently revealed that she will not be able to attend the premiere and promotional events surrounding the opening of her film Unbroken. The surprising reason is that she has chickenpox.
The 39-year-old actress and Universal Pictures released a video that shows the telltale angry red pox in various stages of eruption all over Jolie’s face, chest and arms. In the simple and stark video, the actress, who directed the new movie, said, “I will be home itching and missing everyone.” She also added that she can’t believe that she is missing the opening festivities, “because this film means so much to me.”
Besides the risk of marring one’s looks with permanent scars from scratching the pox, chicken pox is generally not serious. However, the disease is much worse and more painful in adults, who are more likely to be prescribed antiviral drugs to reduce the severity. Adults are also more likely to experience dehydration, sleep problems and headaches. Finally, they have a risk of developing breathing problems such as pneumonia and, in rare cases, encephalitis.
Chickenpox is an easily transmitted viral infection that creates a rash of spots anywhere on the body. Some people only develop a few of the red pox spots. Adults tend to develop more of the pox. The spots develop into blisters and are extremely itchy. Each spots usually takes a couple of days to blister, burst and eventually crust over. However, new spots usually sprout daily for a week and someone is contagious until they stop forming and are all crusted over. If scratched a lot, the spots form permanent pockmark scars.
Someone with chickenpox usually has a fever and aches along with the itchy rash. This is particularly true for adults.
People catch chickenpox by coming into contact with the rash on someone else, or even clothing they wore and linens they used. It can even be transmitted when someone with the virus sneezes or coughs. There has not been any word on where Jolie might have contracted the chickenpox.
There is a vaccine against chickenpox now, but it is not always effective. The best way to develop protection from it is by catching it. When someone gets chickenpox, the immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. As a result, people usually develop immunity to the disease after catching it – mostly because the virus remains inactive in the body. They sometimes reactivate and lead to shingles.
While chickenpox can be worse for adults, Angelina Jolie appeared to be upset but philosophic about the angry chickenpox rash readily apparent in the video on her chart and other areas. With a film she worked on for two years opening, the timing is unfortunate. The actress admitted, “I just can’t believe it, but such is life.
By Dyanne Weiss