• Contagious Diseases/Conditions

    The following list of a few common contagious diseases is in alphabetical order, not in order of seriousness or frequency of occurrence.  The information is presented as a reference guide only. For diagnosis and treatment, please consult your health care provider.  

    Chickenpox: Chickenpox is one of the most common infections of childhood and it is highly contagious. Generally, it does not pose a serious health threat to otherwise healthy people. Usually the child will develop a fever and skin rash, which begins 14-21 days after exposure to a contagious person. The rash begins as red bumps on the chest, back, underarms, neck and face. These change into blisters and finally form scabs. Infected persons are contagious for 1-5 days prior to developing the rash and until the blisters form dried scabs. If your child develops any of these symptoms, keep him/her at home. Your child must remain home until all the blisters are dry. Most children are now vaccinated against it (Varicella) which has greatly reduced the incidence of chicken pox in schools.

    Fifth Disease (Erythema infectiosum: is a mild, viral rash illness. The usual signs and symptoms are a bright red rash on the cheeks (slapped face appearance) followed in 1-4 days by a lace like rash on the trunk and extremities. The rash may fade and reappear for 1-3 weeks on exposure to sunlight or heat (bathing, etc.) Infected persons are contagious prior to the onset of the rash. Once the rash appears, the period of communicability is usually past. Any rash can be an indication of something more serious, so your physician should be consulted. 

    Head Lice: While head lice are a nuisance and they cause itching of the scalp, they pose no health risk.  Lice do not carry or transmit any disease.  Lice are small insects that are often very hard to find in the hair, but they lay eggs, which are often visible. The nits (eggs) are small gray-white dots that can be seen on a single strand of hair. They stick like glue so they cannot be brushed off like dandruff. They are most commonly found on the hair behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.  Lice do not jump or fly, they spread only through extended or prolonged head to head contact or contact with infested combs, clothing with hoods, hats, or helmets.  If a student is found with active head lice, he/she is referred to the health office and it will be determined if the student is allowed to stay in school. The parent/guardian are given information about the treatment of head lice and encouraged to begin treatment of the student immediately and to check all members of the family. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not recommend excluding students with nits from attending school.  Read the district's Board Policy on head lice.  If your child has lice,  you can purchase various over the counter treatments or contact your doctor for their recommendations..  It is generally recommended that all clothing, bedding and hairbrushes be washed in hot water. Thorough vacuuming of carpeting, furniture and mattresses is adequate.  Lice do not live off the body for very long so they cannot infest carpets, etc., like fleas.  When it is determined that several students in a class or school are infested with head lice, the principal or designee may, at his/her discretion, notify parents/guardians of students in that class or school and provide them with information about the detection and treatment of head lice.  For more information about lice prevention and control, contact your school nurse or visit the CDC website 

    Influenza: The flu season typically occurs during the winter months. Complaints usually consist of headache, stomachache or general malaise (feeling "crummy"). If your child or other member of your family are experiencing these symptoms and are not improving, contact your family physician. It can be quite dangerous to young children or the elderly. There is an annual seasonal influenza vaccine that you should discuss with your health care provider as to whether this is a recommendation for your family.
    Measles Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing.  People who have never had the disease or who have not received two doses of the measles vaccine are at risk of developing measles.The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.  Measles typically begins with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.  Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.Infected people are contagious from 4 days before their rash starts through 4 days afterwards. After an infected person leaves a location, the virus remains viable for up to 2 hours on surfaces and in the air. If your child develops a rash or fever, please keep him or her home and consult your physician. If your child has a case of measles, please notify the school office and keep him or her at home for four days after the rash develops.  This will help prevent the spread of the disease. 

    Meningitis An inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis may be caused by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, irritability, and loss of appetite and unusual sleepiness. The Hib vaccine can prevent some forms of meningitis. The virus that eventually infects the covering of the brain is a mild upper respiratory infection in most of us and only in a few cases progresses to meningitis. If your child has any of the above symptoms, especially a fever, stiff neck and significant headache, contact your doctor immediately.

    Pertussis (Whooping Cough). The disease starts like the common cold, with a runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and mild cough or fever. After one to two weeks, severe coughing begins. Infants and children with the disease cough violently and rapidly repeatedly until the air is gone from their lungs and they inhale making a loud "whooping" sound. Most children receive the DPT or DTaP vaccination against Pertussis which reduces their risk of contracting the disease. However, the protection offered by immunization wanes as children reach adolescence.  Before starting school, ALL students in grades 7 are required to provide proof of a Tdap (pertussis) booster.  Boosters are also recommended for adults who care for an infants who have not yet been vaccinated. For frequently asked questions and answers, click here.
    Staph Infections Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in humans. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as boils and abscesses) and smaller infections can be often be treated with incision and drainage without antibiotics. However, staph also can cause serious infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and joint infections. In the past, these staph infections typically have been easy to treat with inexpensive antibiotics. Now in most communities in the U.S., over half of the staph causing skin infections are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Download MRSA Parent Guidelines English Spanish) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to all penicillins (including dicloxacillin and other methicillin-related antibiotics) and cephalosporins, such as Keflex®. Until recently, most MRSA infections occurred among hospitalized patients. However, recently newer, more virulent strains of MRSA have emerged in the community, causing community-associated MRSA infections.
    Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium that usually attacks the lungs, but the TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain.  TB is spread through the air from one person to another.  The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coups, sneezes, speaks or sings.  People who are in close, prolonged contact with the infected person may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.  Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick.  As a result, two TB related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease. For more information on TB, click here
    Strep Throat Strep throat is an infection that causes fever, sore throat, swollen glands, nausea and vomiting in severe cases. Scarlet fever usually causes a rash on the neck and chest (seldom on the face). It may occur with any skin infection due to Strep, such as Impetigo or Boils, as well as with Strep throat. Strep throat often appears one to three days after exposure. If your child has a rash and a fever, keep him/her home and consult your health care provider.  
Last Modified on March 22, 2022