Ibuprofin and acetaminophen can treat the pain and fever of chickenpox in adults, and oral antihistamines are helpful in easing the itching, according to WebMD. If the skin blisters caused by the virus become infected, a doctor prescribes antibiotics.
Oatmeal baths and cool compresses are useful to control the itching, states WebMD. Because scratching the rash transfers bacteria from the fingers to the chickenpox blister, infections can occur, and infected blisters often leave scars. The same virus that causes shingles, the varicella-zoster virus, causes the chickenpox infection. Because teens and adults who contract the highly contagious virus usually experience more severe symptoms than children, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A doctor is likely to administer the chickenpox vaccine to an adult who has been exposed to the virus, preferably within the three-to-five day window in which the vaccine helps prevent the illness from progressing.
A doctor may administer a chickenpox immunoglobulin injection immediately after exposure to the virus to individuals with compromised immune systems, pregnant women or newborns, explains WebMD. The immunoglobulin acts as a catalyst to the individual’s immune system, causing it to destroy the virus invading the body and stave off the infection. If chickenpox symptoms have already begun, antiviral medications can treat adults. Chickenpox is typically no longer contagious approximately 10 days after the onset of symptoms or by the time that the blisters have healed.