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I teach preschool and a student had chicken pox (even though vaccinated).  I was told I needed to clean the classroom since it could be spread from the coughing the child did the previous 2 days. I cleaned the room but did not have time to do all the toys, so I just bagged a lot of items in plastic trash bags.  This was about a week ago.  I am a bit overwhelmed at the quantity of stuff I still have to clean so my question is "How long is the virus contagious on these items?" Thank you for any info on this.

Hi, Catherine,

This virus doesn't live very long on inanimate objects.  It is very unlikely to be spread by this route.  I think the advice you were given is a bit silly.  There is no way you can stop chickenpox from being spread in a classroom, for kids are contagious 2 days before they have any symptoms or rash at all.  It is common for kids of a preschool age to get chicken pox, even vaccinated.  We feel they are more fully protected when they get their booster at 5 years old.

Good luck in that germ infested environment we call preschool!  Wash their little hands and yours a ton.
Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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