How Long Is Chickenpox Contagious For?


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Julii Brainard Profile
Julii Brainard answered
About 9 days in total, 2-3 days before the spots appear and 5-7 days afterwards. Most children's nurseries have an exclusion policy for children with chickenpox of two weeks, after the spots appear. Even if you get a note from your GP, you may be unable to convince the nursery to let your child come back in less than two weeks. Chickenpox is normally mild in children, but in adults who have never had it before or in very young babies it can be a life-threatening illness.

It's unusual for someone to catch chickenpox more than once; normally one bout confers life-long immunity. But after a person has had chickenpox, the virus often lies dormant in the body and it may cause shingles (very painful and localised blisters) years later. This usually happens when the immune system is run down, and is most common in the elderly. People cannot 'catch' shingles from each other; shingles is a resurgence of the original chickenpox virus. However, you can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles (assuming you haven't had chickenpox before).

It is thought that occasional exposure throughout your life to chickenpox can prevent shingles from ever occurring; being exposed to a fresh batch of the virus once in a while may kickstart your immune system into creating more antibodies against it, thus preventing the virus from re-emerging in your body to cause shingles.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
My great grandchild has chickenpox is it contagious for me to be around her in fear of getting shingles. I'm in my 70's?

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