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Anyone know how long can chickenpox virus last on inanimate objects?

(16 Posts)
Tangle Thu 11-Sep-08 13:32:16

DH has shingles. The Dr told him it's unlikely (given the location of the rash), but possible, that DD will catch chickenpox from him. I still feel, though, that I ought to let people we're potentially in close contact with know that she might have contracted it so they have the choice to avoid. But for that to work I need to know when the last chance of infection is so I know when we're out of the potential incubation period.

I know that DH will be "safe" once the last blister has scabbed over, but how about anything he's come into contact with. Do I need to try and disinfect anything that might be at risk, or does the virus have a short shelf life once its on a sheet or towel or sofa? How hot a wash do I need to make sure it's gone?

Any ideas?

MadreInglese Thu 11-Sep-08 13:34:42

I don't think you can carry it unless you are infected with it

I would let people know though that there's a possibility your DD may be incubating it, as it can be very dangerous for certain people eg pregnant women

niceglasses Thu 11-Sep-08 13:37:06

As far as I know you can't catch it 'off' something - there has to be direct contact. At least I think thats what my doctor told me!

Tangle Thu 11-Sep-08 13:40:09

I found this on NHS Direct:

"How can I stop the virus spreading?

The chickenpox virus can sometimes be spread through contact with inanimate objects, or items that have been infected with the virus, such as children's toys, bedding, or clothing. In order to help stop the virus spreading, you can wipe any objects, or surfaces with a sterilising solution, such as Milton, and make sure that any infected clothes, or bedding, are clean and regularly washed. "

So, there may be a risk although its probably small, but I haven't got a clue how long it lasts... Maybe I should call them. MadreInglese - exactly why I'd like to know (I've just found one friend that hasn't had it and she's now about 37 - it gets a lot more serious as an adult)

Elloeise Thu 11-Sep-08 13:41:59

When i was about 12 my mum came down with this and the doctor told her to make sure our towles didn't come into comtact for at least 6 mths as it could be passed on that way.

niceglasses Thu 11-Sep-08 13:42:50

oh, slapped hands for my doc then!

Tangle Thu 11-Sep-08 18:20:56

OK - now please tell me I don't have to truncate DD's social life (and mine for that matter) for the next 6 months shock

I think I'm definitely calling NHS direct.

asteamedpoater Thu 11-Sep-08 20:02:36

The incubation period for chickenpox is up to 3 weeks. If you are really paranoid, I'd time that from when your husband's last blisters have scabbed over (and you've washed his bath towel and bedsheets on a hot wash...). The chances of your daughter getting chickenpox off him without direct contact with his blisters are really small, though. She's more likely to catch it off another child, as it's always going around somewhere in the community.

There's no point getting too paranoid about it: there's a theoretical chance of pretty much anything happening in life, but sometimes it's so theoretical, it gets boring thinking about it. You might as well go around telling everyone all the time that your child might be brewing chickenpox, because she's bound to be exposed to the virus just by going out of your front door.

asteamedpoater Thu 11-Sep-08 20:07:26

And by that I mean, apart from towels and bedsheets (which I wouldn't wash at more than 60c unless you want to ruin them), I wouldn't really bother about disinfecting everything because of shingles - it's chickenpox that's really infectious, anyway, because it's carried in the saliva, so sneezing, spitting, dribbling, etc, make it easy to pass on. And why such fear of your daughter getting chickenpox, anyway? If it happens, it happens - you don't have to keep her in just because it might happen. If everyone applied that logic, then the minute any child at school got chickenpox, the whole school would have to be quarantined for 3 weeks and the school disinfected. Which is plain ridiculous. Even if there is a pregnant mother bringing her child into the school every day.

Tangle Thu 11-Sep-08 21:01:19

Thanks for the thoughts on length of infection - that seems logical. If I can I'll get stuff out in the sunshine (hah!) as well.

I'm not particularly concerned about DD getting chickenpox and whilst I'm not looking forward to it I'm fairly resigned to the fact it will happen sooner or later. And I agree there's always a chance you're harbouring some dire infection and that shouldn't stop you living your life.

What I AM concerned about is that given DH has shingles and therefore the chickenpox virus is around and about in our house there is a higher than usual chance that DD is harbouring it - given that DD and my current social circle includes ladies that haven't had chickenpox themselves and/or are pregnant I am being cautious as I don't want to expose THEM to an increased risk of a disease that can be pretty nasty in those circumstances.

asteamedpoater Thu 11-Sep-08 22:06:35

I understand how you feel - I wouldn't want to be the one blamed for giving a pregnant friend chickenpox, even if there was no way of telling she got it from my household. It's certainly worth telling your friends about your DH's shingles and passing on the advice from your doctor that the chances of your DD getting chickenpox off him are very remote, and then leaving it up to them to decide if they are happy to visit you or your daughter for the next 3 weeks. I wouldn't go to great lengths to disinfect the house for them, though, because the chances are, if they are worried about the risk, they'd rather keep their distance for a while, anyway, regardless of whether or not you've disinfected the house for them. Just don't take it personally...

Tangle Sat 13-Sep-08 10:05:31

Well, I talked to NHS Direct. The health information team said they were really weren't sure about the risk of infection from innanimate objects so the question has been passed to the research team...

Tangle Fri 19-Sep-08 17:01:42

For anyone that's interested, I got an answer:

The V. zoster virus is apparently pretty fragile. The RNA can survive in a moist environment outside a host for 24 hours, but there are no known cases of infection through inanimate objects. If you're very worried, wipe down surfaces/toys with Milton solution, but it really does seem to be a theoretical rather than actual risk.

And they're looking at getting the information back on the webpage wink

DH's blisters have scabbed, so at least now I have a time frame to work with .

PBla Tue 09-Mar-10 13:15:30

Give the surgery a call and refer the doctor to NHS direct.

Jaygal Sat 22-Apr-17 09:13:20

I had chickepox when I was 7 years old and for the first time last Feb it came back as shingles.
And just today I got to know that I'm pregnant. Having had shingles before a month would make any negative impact on my pregnancy?

Jaygal Sat 22-Apr-17 10:23:49

Hi

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