I was wondering if anyone could tell me why chicken pox is more dangerous for children on steroids?  There is a few confirmed cases in my son's school.  Many of these kids have had the vaccination (my son had his vaccination as well) but for some reason are still coming down with the chicken pox.  I am not sure how worried I should be, if at all.  Any input would be helpful, 
thanks, 
Jennifer

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Hi Jennifer, my son was exposed to shingles this summer (I guess that's the adult version of chicken pox???). At the time I asked his DMD doc about it as well and they were not concerned as long as he had had the vaccine as well - which he did. They had us keep an eye on him for any symptoms, but nothing ever came of it. Sorry, probably not much help. Donna
Vaccinations aren't 100% effective so there's always the possibility that even after getting a vaccination, someone could still get infected. This is where herd mentality comes into play. The idea here is that if a certain percentage of the population is actually immune (I believe its around 80%), then the virus won't be able to get a foothold in the population and spread. In this way, those that can't get immunized or their immunization doesn't stick, are very likely to never even be exposed.

That being said, Deflazacort is used more as an immunosuppressant than it is to help with muscles like we do for our kids. While it helps with their muscles, it also weakens their immune system, and as such are more vulnerable to infections, and when they are exposed, they can react more severely.
Chicken pox can be a very deadly virus for some children, others not so much. A child on steroids is just more susceptible to the disease. When I was in nursing school I worked in a pediatric ICU in a large hospital and in a span of 2 weeks I watched 3 children die of chicken pox. Healthly, unrelated children that for some reason their bodies just took the virus and ran wild. It is rare, but it is real.
I would not keep my son home from school, you've done what you can with the vaccination. On the flip side I would not send him over to a friends house that you know is still in the active phase of the disease. Be smart and safe.
Thanks for all the advice. It is hard to know what is worth worrying about.
Jennifer

Both my little guys were vaccinated against chicken pox around age one , and I remember because I had to pay for it at that time, though now it is covered by our provincial plan. Started getting memos that it was going around the school. Then little brother William (no DMD) caught it, though it was a mild case. But now caught in great fun decinding what to do with Simon, immunosuppressed due to Deflazacort, and trying to figure out when 'exposure' occurred. Was it at school 2 or 3 weeks ago, only from his brother 10 days ago, or this morning, or not at all? First medical team was not very concerned and was not going to do anything, then they were going to give him immunoglobulins, but finally decided on Acyclovir for 7 days, with strict isolation (heavy duty mask, negative pressure room, etc) while in a hospital or medical context for the other immunosuppressed patients, but walking around at school and in the general community without any precautions what so ever.

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