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What is an incubation period?

The term incubation period usually refers to the time between exposure to a germ (such as bacteria or a virus) and the start of symptoms. For example, the time between shaking hands with someone who has a cold, until you start having cold symptoms yourself. The length of the incubation period depends on several factors, including what germs you've been exposed to and how strong your immune system is.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.