The duration of the incubation period of chickenpox in children and adults

One of the most frequently asked questions about chickenpox is the chickenpox incubation period and contagiousness. Not surprising, because a person can be contagious when chickenpox does not yet give obvious symptoms. People of different age categories have more or less clear boundaries of the infectious stage. They are approximately the same, but vary slightly. Today we will take a closer look at the incubation period for chickenpox, talk about how long it is contagious and when you can start walking on the street.


Before we look at how long the incubation period of chickenpox lasts, you need to understand what it is.

The incubation period is the length of time from the moment a microbial agent enters the body until the onset of symptoms of the disease, the source is Wikipedia.

The incubation period should not be confused with the latent course of the disease. The latent course of the disease differs from the incubation one in that a person with it is contagious to others.

With certain diseases, the latent period occurs earlier than the incubation period. In this case, the person has no visible symptoms, because the incubation period has not yet ended, but the patient is already a carrier of the virus.


The total incubation period for chickenpox is one to three weeks. In adults and children, it differs in duration. Let us consider in more detail how the chickenpox virus is incubated in people of different age categories:

In infants, the incubation period is usually seven to ten days.

In children and adolescents, the stage of incubation of the virus is slightly higher – from two to three weeks.

In adults, as in adolescents, this time is from two to three weeks.

The most common incubation period for chickenpox in children is 13 to 17 days. Depending on the state of the immune system, it varies, the weaker the immune system, the sooner the incubation of the varicella-zoster virus will pass and the first symptoms will appear.


To see the full picture of the stages of incubation of the varicella zoster virus, which is herpes type 3 and is called Varicella zoster , it is necessary to consider the stages of the incubation period.

Chickenpox has three periods that characterize the temporary stages of reproduction of viral cells:

The initial stage is the first contact with the virus carrier. After the herpesvirus varicella zoster penetrated into a healthy body, it begins to gradually strengthen on the mucous membranes. This period lasts about four days.

Stage of development – there is an active reproduction of viral cells. At this stage, gaining a high concentration of the virus, Varicella zoster is still trying to multiply on the mucous membranes.

The final stage – a high concentration of viruses allows them to enter the bloodstream. The immune system encounters new cells and begins to produce antibodies. At this time, the first external symptoms of chickenpox appear.

With certain forms of chickenpox, at the final stage of the incubation period, the disease may not give symptoms.


Even before the incubation period has passed, chickenpox begins the latent stage and the child becomes contagious. Most often, the contagious period begins three days before the incubation stage passes and visible symptoms appear in the form of rashes.

With the latent form of chickenpox, there are enough viruses to be released to the outside. But not enough for the manifestation of symptoms in the form of a rash, since the concentration of the virus is still at the stage of incubation. When sneezing, the virus begins to spread through the air and retains a long survivability, which allows it to capture vast areas of infection up to hundreds of meters in radius.

After the last rash, the child will be subject to the spread of Varicella virus particles for another five days. zoster . Therefore, you should adhere to the rules of quarantine during this time. Experts recommend following the rules of five days after the manifestations of the last wave of chicken rash, while the following rules should be observed:

do not walk on the street, and even more so do not visit public places;

try to avoid contact with people who have not had chickenpox.

To calculate the period of contagiousness, there is an average formula. It looks like this:

the latent stage begins on average 2 days before the end of incubation;

the average rate of rashes is 6 days;

the recovery time lasts about 5 days.

All this time the person is contagious. The amount was 13 days. If we take the lower limits of the time course of the disease, then the amount will be 4 days. Thus, it turns out that the contagiousness of chickenpox is from 4 to 13 days. This is not surprising, given the quarantine for chickenpox in kindergarten, which lasts two weeks.

Summing up, it is worth noting that chickenpox in children is one of the most common diseases. The fact is that with chickenpox, obvious signs begin to appear later than the child already becomes a carrier of the disease. And many do not understand or do not know that it takes time after the last wave of the rash before you can start walking. Thus, a huge number of people are exposed to primary infection. It must be remembered that with chickenpox, no matter how uncomfortable it is to comply with quarantine rules, this must be done.

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