The incubation period is the time between entry of infectious agent in the host and the onset of symptoms. During this time, the infectious agent invades the tissue and multiplies to produce an infection. The client is typically infectious to others during the latter part of this stage. For example, the incubation period for varicella (chickenpox) is 2 to 3 weeks. the infected person is contagious from 5 days before any skin eruptions to no more than 6 days after the skin eruptions appear. Safety
Always verify the incubation period of a suspected infection. Remember that a client may be able to transmit the infection to another person before the onset of symptoms. Prodromal Stage
The prodromal stage is the time from the onset of non-specific symptoms until specific symptoms begin to manifest. The infectious agent continues to invade and multiply in the host. A client may also be infectious to other persons during this time period. IN the client with chickenpox, a slight elevation in temperature will occur during this stage, followed within 24hours by eruptions on the skin. Illness Stage
The illness stage is the time when the client has specific signs and symptoms of an infectious process. The client with chickenpox will experience a further rise in temperature and continued outbreaks of skin eruptions for at least 2 to 3 more days. Convalescent Stage
From the beginning of the disappearnce of acute symptoms unitl the client returns to the previous state of health. The client with chickenpox will see the skin eruptions and irritation begin to resolve during this stage.