Miscellaneous > Fever, Infections and Crying > Infection Exposure Questions

Infection Exposure Questions

Definition:

  • This guideline includes information about the transmission of common infections
  • Incubation Period: Time interval between exposure to the infection and onset of symptoms
  • Contagious Period: Time interval during which a sick child's disease is contagious to others. With precautions, children sometimes can return to day care and school before this period is over
  • Infections that are not Contagious: Many common bacterial infections are not contagious (eg otitis media, sinusitis, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and bacteremia). Sexually-transmitted diseases are not contagious to children unless there is sexual contact or shared bathing

Skin Infections/Rashes:

DISEASE INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS) CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)
Chickenpox 10-21 2 days before rash until all sores have crusts - (6-7 days)
Fifth disease (Erythema infectiosum) 4-14  7 days before rash until rash begins
Hand, foot, and mouth disease 3-6 Onset of mouth ulcers until fever gone
Impetigo (strep or staph) 2-5 Onset of sores until 24 hours on antibiotic
Lice 7 Onset of itch until 1 treatment
Measles 8-12 4 days before rash until rash gone (7 days)
Roseola 9-10 Onset of fever until rash gone (2 days
Rubella (German measles) 14-21 7 days before rash until rash gone (4 days)
Scabies 30-45 Onset of rash until 1 treatment
Scarlet fever 3-6 Onset of fever or rash until 24 hours on antibiotic
Shingles (contagious for chicken pox) 14-16 Onset of rash until all sores have crusts (7 days) (Note: No need to isolate if sores can be kept covered.)
Warts 30-180  Minimally contagious

Respiratory Infections:

DISEASE INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS) CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)
Bronchiolitis 4-6 Onset of cough until 7 days
Colds 2-5 Onset of runny nose until fever gone
Cold sores (herpes) 2-12 *Footnote 1
Coughs (viral) or croup (viral) 2-5 Onset of cough until fever gone
Diphtheria 2-5 Onset of sore throat until 4 days on antibiotic
Influenza 1-2 Onset of cough until fever gone
Sore throat, strep 2-5 Onset of sore throat until 24 hours on antibiotic
Sore throat, viral 2-5 Onset of sore throat until fever gone
Tuberculosis 6-24 months Until 2 weeks on drugs (Note: Most childhood TB is not contagious.)
Whooping cough 7-10  Onset of runny nose until 5 days on antibiotic
*see footnote 1 at bottom of the page    

Intestinal Infections:

 

DISEASE INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS) CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)
Diarrhea, bacterial 1-5 *Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions
Diarrhea, giardia 7-28 *Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions
Diarrhea, traveler's 1-6 *Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions
Diarrhea, viral (Rotavirus) 1-3 *Footnote 2 for Diarrhea Precautions
Hepatitis A 14-50 2 weeks before jaundice begins until jaundice resolved (7 days)
Hepatitis B 50-180 2 weeks before jaundice begins until jaundice resolved (7 days)
Pinworms 21-28 Minimally contagious, staying home is unnecessary
Vomiting, viral 2-5 Until vomiting stops

Other Infections:

DISEASE INCUBATION PERIOD (DAYS) CONTAGIOUS PERIOD (DAYS)
Infectious mononucleosis 30-50 Onset of fever until fever gone (7 days)
Meningitis, bacterial  2-10  7 days before symptoms until 24 hours on IV antibiotics in hospital
Mumps 12-25 5 days before swelling until swelling gone (7 days)
Pinkeye without pus (viral)  1-5 Mild infection, staying home is unnecessary
Pinkeye with pus (bacterial) 2-7 Onset of pus until 1 day on antibiotic eyedrops

*Footnotes:

  1. Cold sores: younger than 6 years, contagious until cold sores are dry, 4-5 days. (No isolation if sores are on part of body that can be covered.) More than 6 years old, no isolation necessary if beyond touching, picking stage.
  2. Diarrhea Precautions: Contagious until stools are formed. Stay home until fever is gone, diarrhea is mild, blood and mucus are gone, and toilet-trained child has control over loose BMs. Shigella and E-coli 0157 require extra precautions.