Tonawanda News


February 19, 2013

Doctor suggests adult vaccinations for chicken pox and shingles

Tonawanda News — There are a lot of misconceptions about adult chicken pox and shingles, and Dr. Qamrunnisa Rahman, a physician at Kenton Family Care Center, said she wants to set the record straight.

Veteran journalist Barbara Walters was recently hospitalized with chicken pox, bringing a little more attention to a disease that most people associate with a childhood right of passage. But chicken pox is not just for the kids, Rahman said, and it can be an even more serious problem for adults, especially the elderly.

“Children get a mild (case of chicken pox) and they recover really fast,” she said. “But adults may get a pretty severe attack.”

People at a higher risk for complications from chicken pox include those over 65 years of age, pregnant women, those with asthma and those with a compromised immune system. Diabetes, HIV, those on immunosupressive medications and people who have had organ transplants are particularly susceptible, the Centers for Disease Control indicates on its website.

Just because you’ve made it to a ripe old age and have never had the chicken pox, doesn’t mean you’re immune, Rahman added. You might have just been lucky. And just because you never broke out with an itchy rash doesn’t mean you’ve never had chicken pox, either.

“You could have had a subclinical attack and you may not be aware of it,” Rahman said.

There’s a test physicians can do to determine if a patient has had the virus or not, which is important to have done if you’re not sure. Adults who have never had the chicken pox should have the vaccine, just like their kids.

The vaccine is perhaps even more important for adults because the complications from the virus for older patients can be “horrendous,” Rahman said.

Typical, serious complications from the chicken pox include dehydration, pneumonia, bleeding problems, infection or inflammation of the brain, blood stream infections, toxic shock syndrome, bone infections and joint infections, the CDC lists on its website.

Text Only
  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Rewards for playing nice

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE signs of spring 1 032314.jpg Region's favorite signs of spring gear up for season

    Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo