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Is chickenpox contagious?

The chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster) is highly contagious and precautions must be taken to prevent the spreading of the virus. It is most likely to infect anyone that has not had chickenpox before (who has not had the chickenpox vaccine done), and children under 10. Particular care must be taken not to infect individuals that are pregnant, immunocompromised, or newborn babies, as there is a considerable risk of complications in these groups.


Chickenpox incubation period

After exposure, the incubation period for the Varicella zoster virus is up to 21 days. It usually between 10 to 21 days before any symptoms are visible. The person is contagious 1-2 days before the first rash appears, and until all the blisters crust/scab over, which typically occurs around 5 days after the onset of the rashes. It is recommended that you stay at home during this period, and stay away from vulnerable individuals.


Chickenpox transmission

Chickenpox is spread by direct contact with the chickenpox blisters, or by breathing in virus particles present in air droplets due to an infected person coughing or sneezing. Additionally, contact with clothes or bedding of someone with chickenpox can expose you to the virus. If you are at risk of developing the virus, being in close contact with someone that has chickenpox is not recommended.


Can I get chickenpox from someone that has shingles?

If someone has shingles, and you have not had chickenpox before, and/or have not been vaccinated against the chicken pox virus, you are at risk of getting chickenpox from that person. However, you cannot get the shingles virus (herpes zoster) from someone that has chickenpox, or the shingles virus from someone that has shingles.

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