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chickenpox incubation period and exposure to preggers friends?

(9 Posts)
dangskuLLANDBoneym Tue 27-Oct-09 10:16:46

Help, I've read the whole internet smile but can't find the answer to this.

Anyone know:

How long it takes after exposure to chickenpox, to become infectious?

How long the incubation period is?

Whether exposure is dangerous to all pregnant women, or only if they haven't already had the disease?

My neighbour took her DS to a chickenpox party, then asked DD to the park the next day, and forgot to mention the pox party until after I'd had contact with lots of pregant women.

I mentioned DD's infectious D&V, and my neighbour said 'it's ok, we'll keep them apart' so I don't think they touched or shared things all that much.

Neither of them has symptoms 7-8 days later (unless you count my DD's prodigious snot-production, whicnh I don't think counts).

Help, do you think I should avoid/retrospectively inform pregant women, or not?

lynniep Tue 27-Oct-09 10:25:05

Sorry no expert - but I'll tell you what I experienced! It varies of course - but what I can tell you is DS and most of his little buddies started to 'show' spots 14 days after being exposed. So I guess its around a two-week window, possibly more. Once they scab up they are safe again - the scabs can take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to scab over - some kids dont really get spots so its hard to know. Some kids are ill for a couple of days, some not.

It is a danger to all pg women, because you can get chickenpox more than once, although its rare.

In summary - 7-8 days isnt long enough to tell
And I dont like to really comment on telling the pg women. There is a vaccine available I believe so you are giving them an option

lynniep Tue 27-Oct-09 10:27:01

sorry the last bit of my sentene is missing!

There is a vaccine available I believe so you are giving them an option if you decide to tell them - I am 38 weeks pg and I'd want to know. They can then pass on the message that the pox is doing the rounds themselves.

dangskuLLANDBoneym Tue 27-Oct-09 11:01:47

Thanks! Oh yes, because pregnant women's immune systems are weakened, aren't they, so the problem is that they are more likely to catch it and then pass it on to the baby (I think). It didn't occur to me that pregnant women could have the vaccine, so that's good to know.

I suppose part of what I'm wondering is, how long before the virus starts replicating after you've been exposed (if I've got my biology right) - so whether the little lad who went to the pox party could have started being infectious in the 24-30 hours before he and DD played. I suspect the answer is 'yes'

Think I'll warn everyone anyway, and maybe phone NHS Direct to ask (about the period between exposure and becoming infectious). I'm not sure this is the sort of thing to phone them about but I can't find the information on their very own website!

dangskuLLANDBoneym Tue 27-Oct-09 11:47:35

Oh lynniep, sorry, forgot to say, congrats on the bump!

lynniep Tue 27-Oct-09 14:33:29

hey again - thanks!
sorry I forgot to try to answer that bit of your question - duh. Did NHS direct help?
I always thought that you were infectious for a few (maybe three or four days) before the rash appeared, but I dont know if thats true - its just what I thought!

Of course that means its impossible to know - because some people may come out in spots a week after being exposed, and then as I said DS and his pals took 14 days, so I guess they were infectious about 10 or so days after being exposed. Its so random!!

Seona1973 Tue 27-Oct-09 16:50:10

the incubation period is 10-21 days after exposure so if your neighbours ds was at the party the day before he was with your lo then he would not have been infectious at that point. You are infectious from 1-2 days before the spots appear until around 5-7 days after i.e. until the spots scab over.

There is only a danger to pregnant women if they havent had it before - the danger periods seems to be in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and from 37 weeks as at that point there is a danger of the baby being born with chickenpox.

Seona1973 Tue 27-Oct-09 16:52:04

chickenpox

dangskuLLANDBoneym Tue 27-Oct-09 17:51:43

Thanks, both! Lynniep, when I called NHS Direct, I got the 'go away unless it's an emergency' recording, and felt guilty about waiting for an operator.

I completely get their point, but (and this is probably really something that should be a new thread), there are times when it's not an emergency but it seems best to talk to an actual medical professional and NHS Direct still seems like the best or most obvious place to visit!
(e.g. when I very badly bruised my knee by falling upstairs while 5 months pregnant, made it worse - whole swollen middle of leg-stylee - by grimly staying at work the whole day, and they said 'stay in bed; cold and elevation; do not go to work tomorrow' grin)

Seona, thanks - I saw that page but somehow completely missed the section about the incubation period! If I'd been a more careful reader then it would have saved this whole post blush. That's great news as I want to be allowed to visit my pg friend's lovely visiting mum so I guess pox-watch is off!

Thanks again

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