By: Brian Rauf
Two teachers and one student at Hand Middle School in Columbia have contracted shingles, which is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Shingles usually occurs in older people who have had chickenpox in the past, but it can infect anyone.
"Usually students and teachers do not get the shingles so it is a bit odd," explained school nurse Mindy Faucher. "There is a vaccine that older people age 50 and up get for the shingles."
She says this is not considered an outbreak; that's only if three to five students in the same classroom, or people in the same vicinity, contract the disease.
Both teachers and the student were all in different areas of the school, and have been sent home.
Shingles can be avoided by maintaining good hygiene, but other things may contribute to the disease.
"If you have a low immune system or if you have high stress levels it can trigger the shingles," Faucher said. "But then again you would have had the chickenpox before hand to get it."
Early symptoms of shingles include headaches, sensitivity to light, and flu-like symptoms without a fever. Itching, tingling, or a small, painful rash may appear several days or weeks later.
Faucher says if the rash is small enough can be covered, students can return to school.