A student at De La Salle has been diagnosed with chickenpox. Chickenpox is a highly contagious illness that generally starts with a slight fever, followed by a blister-like, itchy rash. Although this is usually not a serious illness, children often miss days at school or daycare thereby causing parents to miss work as well. Also in some children and certain high-risk individuals, including those with HIV/AIDs, on chemotherapy, or pregnant, chickenpox can cause much more severe illness; leading to hospital stays or even death.
The varicella vaccine can prevent chickenpox and is safe and effective for children 12 months of age or older. This vaccine is recommended by both The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all children who have never had the chickenpox and it is part of a child’s routine vaccinations. The varicella vaccine series consists of two doses given at least 3 months apart for children 12 years and under and at least 4 weeks apart for those 13 years and older.
If your child has not already had chickenpox and has not been fully immunized, we recommend that they receive the vaccine. The vaccine, if given 3 – 5 days after exposure to chickenpox can prevent or reduce the severity of illness. Your child’s doctor or the Macomb County Health Department (586-469-5235) can assist in vaccinating children who are not protected.
There are a few children with weakened immune systems who should not receive the vaccine, and your child’s health care provider will be able to advise you what to do if your child has exposure to chickenpox. A medicine is available (VZIG) that can protect children and adults with weakened immune systems and pregnant women from chickenpox.
If your child does develop chickenpox, he should be kept home until the rash has crusted over (usually about five days).
We are not aware of anyone else being diagnosed with chickenpox. The school will follow disinfectant protocols to be safe. Thank you in advance for understanding that HIPPA laws require us to keep the name involved confidential. If you have any questions about chicken pox please contact your family’s physician. Further information about chickenpox can also be found at https://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/about/.