Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AYFKM: Chicken Pox Party?

I was listening to the radio this morning and my local morning show brought up the topic of "Chickenpox Parties" and I was intrigued. I could not listen to the entire conversation because I needed to get out of my car and get into work. What I did hear really bothered me.

I have worked in healthcare pretty much since highschool when I worked as a pharmacy tech up to about three years ago when I was running a disease tracking program along with a website for a well known pharma company. Go ahead, call me evil. Anyway, I believe in vaccines. I always have and I always will. You will not sway me on this topic, don't try. So when I heard that parents were purposely exposing their children to chicken pox so as to avoid them having to get the chickenpox vaccine, I was deeply angered. You see I am living proof that the antibodies that you get from catching chicken pox do not last a lifetime.

I have had the chickenpox twice. No, I do not have a problem with my immune system. No, I did not have one or two 'pox' and then get a worse case later. I really had it twice. I had the fevers, the itching, the lack of sleep, the embarrassment of having sores all over your body...during the summer (both times). Knowing how that felt and knowing that there is no 'get it once and your never get it again' immunity (and yes, you can get mono after you have had it once) I am sickened that anyone would expose their child knowingly to such a disease when there IS in a vaccine that can help either prevent the disease or at least get a weaker case. There is an article in "Mothering" magazine about Chickenpox Parties that made me sick to my stomach. It talks about developing 'natural immunity to Varicella (chickenpox virus). I am sorry but there is not one natural thing about this 'party' process. Naturally getting a disease means you come into contact with it, on your own. Actually forcing the illness upon a child is chilling and I am sorry, I am going to say it, negligent.

It is negligent because they don't have any clue as to how their child is going to react to the disease. Did you know that the fevers from chicken pox can cause swelling of the brain? Yes, fevers can be treated but since these parents are trying a 'natural' way of getting antibodies I am going to go out on a limb here and say they probably are not going to dose their child with Tylenol or Ibuprofen if their child gets a fever. They might take them to the ER (and then thanks again for continuing the spread) but if the fever is high enough for long enough, damage is already done. Also, chickenpox sores can easily become infected causing scarring and possibly secondary infections that, if left untreated (again, going to the 'natural' thought thing again) could cause serious complications.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I am all for organic and local living but I have the Hep B vaccine and I get my flu shot every year (yes it does work and no you cannot get the flu from the flu shot) and when I am in my 60's I will get the pneumoina vaccine. If I have children, they will be vaccinated with all the required vaccines. Why? I don't want my children to get sick from preventable diseases and I would not want them to pass them on to anyone else. Don't even try to tell me, "You're not a parent, you wouldn't understand." because I do understand. I understand the science and the risks probably better than many people because I am just that smart and I do my research.

23 comments:

Kat said...

Vaccinations. You know we homeschool. And we belong to a non-religious support group. Well...this group is at the other end of the spectrum. Those that homeschool because they don't like rules. Including those that don't send their kids to school because they don't want to vaccinate. And these moms do hold chicken pox parties. And will even sent out emails to our whole group wanting to know if people know of anyone who has it.

And there we are again. The weird ones. Because we vaccinate.

Cherlyn said...

I totally agree that consciously exposing your child to a disease like that is very negligent.

I have a wierd genetic immunity to the chicken pox. I've been exposed to it numerous times and never got it myself. My mom's the same way.

Marilyn said...

I TOTALLY agree with you!
I wish there had been a pox vacine when I was a child and believe you me, both of my children have had the shot.
I know too many adults who have had the pox more than once and also shingles (same virus?)

~Sheila~ said...

All of my kids are vaccinated and are current on their vaccines. The whole family is. I keep copy of the kid's shot records with me.

There are those people who are just misinformed.

American in Norway said...

Agree with you 100%..Thank goodness I had both of my kids vaccinated BEFORE we moved to Norway... They don't give the Chicken pox vaccination here...

Los said...

I had a very small case of chicken pox when I was in 5th grade ... I think 75% of my class got it that year ... I had some "pocks" on my legs, but none anywhere else ... so, I ended up not skipping any school ... probably not the best idea in the world, but oh well.

CoffeeJitters (Judy Haley) said...

I had a family member once tell me that mother's who vaccinate their children are just lazy - they just don't want to have to care for the child when he's sick. This statement effectively removed her name from my possible babysitters list. Children die of preventable childhood diseases every year; it's nothing to play around with. In addition, people who have had chicken pox as a child can develop shingles as a result. You definitely don't want to mess with that.

Jen said...

I am a HUGE believer in vaccinations. If there is a vaccination out there my kids will get it.
I think that these Chicken pox parties are ridiculous. Whats next a measle party or I know how about exposing kids to small pox.

Muffy Willowbrook said...

I have never had them and I don't know much abou tthe subject, but I'm interested after reading your post - I'm going to go do a little digging...Thx.

my2boyz said...

That is so disturbing! We vaccinate our children, flu shots and all!

Snooty Primadona said...

I'm in total agreement with you and I did not know this kind of this was going on. It's insanity personified.

Unfortunately, my own children got the chickenpox (at the same time no less) BEFORE they came out with the vaccine. Believe me, I would have done anything to spare them (and me) that misery. The other down side of having chickenpox is that the virus can stay in your body and raise its ugly little head later on in the form of Shingles. My son got the shingles in Jr. High School & it was the most miserable, horrible thing to have happen to him. Anyone who exposes their child to chicken pox is also exposing them to the possiblity that they might also develop shingles somewhere down the road in life. Not only is that irresponsible, but it's also derelict and cruel. I can't understand why anyone would want that for their precious child...

Mama Dawg said...

I debated long and hard before I got my child the chicken pox vaccine.

Not because I wanted to take her to one of these parties (that is negligence in my opinion) but because I've heard that getting the chicken pox in your adult years is far more serious then when you get them as a child. I also read that it's not really preventable. That the vaccine only MAY prevent the chicken pox, not that it would prevent it 100%. Those odds weren't that great in my opinion.

I wanted to spare her the agony of having them as an adult.

I had the chicken pox when I was a kid. I have a scar on my right cheek to show for it.

However, other than that, I have no memory of having the chicken pox.

But, when all was said and done, I decided that getting the vaccine was best overall for the health of my child (and for other kids).

I'm still not happy with the odds, but, I just can't risk it.

Believe it or not, that was the ONLY vaccine I questioned. The others, without fail, she got. No questions.

Live.Love.Eat said...

I really admire how your adamant in your opinion, with no apology. I happen to agree with you, even with knowing much less than you do on the subject. I just know we should do what we can to prevent anything harmful to our children. I just watched Private Practice where a mother refused to give her one child the measles vaccine because she thought it caused her other child to get autism. The child came down with measles and died. It disgusted me, even though I know it's a TV show, because it happens in real life.

L.R. M-J said...

Shazaam! Now, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel ;)

I don't remember having them, was a kid in Africa, but curse the stupid scar on my left eye every time I put on mascara--it's right where my stubby little eyelashes are and so I have a bald spot...errk. But hey, could be worse...c'est la vie!

Happy New Year btw...

Capricorn said...

East coast is a little cold this time of year I hear, lol...it will be nice change of pace though. If I miss the 80 degree weather too much, I will simply move back home!
I got lots of extra space for you and P and G-dog...oh and your pesto.

asthmagirl said...

I vaccinated all my girls. But they had chicken pox pre-vaccine. I hoped my youngest wouldn't get it when my middle did... my youngest was still breastfeeding and I hoped immune. She wasn't. She got a horrible case which became infected and trying to convince the dr. over the phone, because they didn't want her brought it... it was a tough time. I would have vaccinated for that as well had it been available at the time.
And yes, I get my flu shot and have had my pneumonia shot. With asthma, I can't take a chance on getting sick...

KDLOST said...

ah... yeah... i agree with you... woah. we get vaccinated in this house.

p.s. this is random and off the subject but i noticed your movie list in your profile and i like EVERY single one... like A LOT. good taste!

Rhea said...

Vaccinations. I believe in them.

A lot of people worry about autism from vaccinations though.

Capricorn said...

People that do this should have their kids taken away from them. why? because kids have been known to die from chicken pox, why would you want to expose your child to that? unreal.

Lula! said...

Well, my husband is a physician...and we are hardcore...meaning we vaccinate and think chicken pox parites are RIDICULOUS!!!

Don't even get me started...the haters will descend upon me. I'm just going to curl up with my vaccinated kids on this fine, snowy day.

ethel said...

i vaccinate the main ones..but i don't like vaccinating for everything under the sun . they do put weird things in the vaccination fluid. i'm doing like they do in Europe for chicken pox..wait until the kid is 10..if theyhaven't had it by then ..get them vaccinated. i'm making an appt. for my oldest as we speak as he turns 10 this week and hasn't had chicken pox yet.
i do homeopathics and herbs..build up the immune system..i'd rather do that than every vaccination they sell.

Cristin said...

preaching to the choir sister.... I have a problem with people not vaccinating... I've taken care of people who were stricken with polio as children... and I'll pass on Measles too...

I wonder, do these people who refuse to vaccinate their kids let their dogs get their shots? Just sayin....

Tristan said...

I had always wanted my children to have the least amount of vaccinations they could, so I thought that since I had the chicken pox that my twins would be fine too... until I talked to my husband's grandfather, a retired pediatrician. I asked him what vaccines, if any could be avoided... he and I are very like minded so I trusted him, and he said maybe rotavirus if it wasn't prominent where I lived, but other than that nothing.... I told him about what I thought on chicken pox (because I think a lot of parents thought what I did... that it was ok since we had it when we were young) and he said OH NO!!! DO NOT DO THAT, please vaccinate them, and went on and on about why... because of that I had my twins vaccinated when they turned 1 and feel wonderful about my decision!