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Kiddie Wellness: Chicken Pox Parties?

Would you welcome strangers into your home when your wee one was sick? How about encouraging your tot to share licks of a lollipop or a sippy cup with another who was under the weather? Or shipping your child's pajamas across the country in the wild hope that the kid who wears them gets your lil one's ailment? This is what New York mamas are doing to try and get their youngsters to contract the chicken pox. A recent New York Post piece focused on chicken pox parties, soirees parents are throwing to spread the illness so their children do not have to get the chicken pox vaccine required to get into the New York school system. It said:

Since 1999, kindergartners entering school in New York state must have had either the virus or the varicella vaccine, which protects against both chicken pox and shingles. But with recent public controversy concerning a possible link between vaccines and autism, some parents are turning to pox parties to protect their kids—by making them sick.

Aside from making your child uncomfortable, pediatricians also warn that, "Most of the time chicken pox is a mild disease, but you can die from the complications." What's your take — are you down with the craze or think chicken pox parties are plain crazy?

Join The Conversation
Aphrosette Aphrosette 8 years
oh yes, and I will def. be opting for the vaccines!!
Aphrosette Aphrosette 8 years
this is certainly nothing new, I remember my mom doing this when we were kids. My youngest sister had 6 (yes just 6) pox when she was about a month old, thanks to myself and my middle sister. The doctor told my mom that she was likely to get it again, and my mother tried desperately for years to re-expose her so she wouldn't get sick as an adult. Needless to say, she never got the chicken pox again, only 6 isn't bad!!
ktdid214 ktdid214 8 years
i had chicken pox when i was little, and have scars on my face. i wish the vaccine had been around then. i would never encourage my child to coerce with sick kids.
death-by-chocolat death-by-chocolat 8 years
The reason you'd want to potentially avoid chicken pox is probably because of shingles. You can get shingles later in life if you've had the pox virus, because it stays dormant in your nervous system. Shingles are hugely painful and can cause major problems ( both chicken pox and shingles are a variant of a herpes virus, and shingles is basically like having a herpes outbreak all over your body.
kittyhill kittyhill 8 years
That's how my youngest brother got chicken pox, & he lived... It's a pretty common practice. Autism fears aside, pox parties are free, & you have to pay for vaccines. I'm cheap!
Aimeelo Aimeelo 8 years
I went to these parties when I was a kid and never got the chicken pox. I was never vaccinated for anything either due to religious reasons. I asked one my psychology profs.,who used to be a doctor, why there is a chicken pox vaccine anyway, it has been around for a long time and is generally (generally meaning the average person, not the outliers that will get the pox and be hospitalized due to it, small percentage) a mild illness so why get it. She said that a large portion of it is due to making sure that parents do not have to stay home from work with their kids when they are sick. The vaccine will "hopefully" not let the kid get chicken pox which will allow the parents to not have to miss work. There is some good that will come from it, but it will probably have little effect over a long time. Unfortunately I have to get all the childhood vaccines right now because I am trying to get a job at a children's hospital and I'm not allowed to apply until I'm fully vaccinated. Which is going to cost an arm and a leg because many insurance companies will not pay for vaccines after the age of 17, unless its the HPV one which is a whole different story.
RainbowSparkle RainbowSparkle 8 years
I went to pox parties as a child and never got them. My husband and his 2 brothers were vaccinated but still got chicken pox. Vaccinations are an important issue in our country but many people allow the government and the insurance companies to make the decisions without educating themselves. Here in NY there is little way to "opt out" of vaccinations for any reason without a ton of red tape, many random visits by social services, and sometimes your child missing school(or even day care for younger children) due to not being vaccinated. My son is 2 and had only the hep b vac they forced on him in the hospital despite our fights of religious and personal beliefs. We use anti bacterial hand soap but no major cleaning products, just a steam cleaner. My son has never had so much as a fever, diarrhea, or a single ear infection. His cousin who is 5 weeks younger and fully vaccinated (due to being on medicaid-the parents were forced) was sick for at least a week after each vaccination, had numerous ear infections, colds, and bouts of diarrhea and fevers through out her 2 years. I am choosing to have my child vaccinated before he attends school. I believe his body will be stronger when he is older to accept the vaccinations, and there are a number of vacs that are only applicable to young children that he will not have to endure. Also I hope that by the time he is 5 the vac debate will have brought about some change in these rules. Every parent should be able to decide with their dr. at least the schedule of vaccinations on their child(ren) depending on their individual situations.
RosieAllen RosieAllen 8 years
Being the youngest of four and so when one of my siblings came down with chicken pox, my mom made sure we all had it!! Of course we were homeschooled so it was not like we would expose anyone else, I have had it twice now both when I was a lot younger and do not remember it. I don't think bringing your kids to a party to expose them to the virus is a good idea because you don't know what strain they have. But then again my mom used Shaklee cleaning products which are less toxic and abrasive and has less disinfectant than lysol. As adults we rarely become sick and are very healthy and I attribute that to my mother exposing us to everything whether she wanted to or not!! I see kids nowadays that become sick all the time because of the new cleaning product that kills 99.9% of germs when we need them for a healthy immune system. And this does not apply to kids that are sick due to birth problems or any other disease were they have to have these cleaners to survive.
SnickersBar SnickersBar 8 years
I personally would never try to make my child sick, because you never know when there could be an unexpected complication, also the chicken pox can be pretty miserable. I have quite a few scars from when I had it. I believe in vaccines, though, as well, so I speak from that perspective. I'm sure everyone does what they think is best, but I wouldn't go this route.
Pets Pets 8 years
I grew up never having chicken pox although I remember tons of friends getting it each year in elementary school. I had the vaccine at the age of 22 after graduating college because I was teaching and it was recommended because of the amount of time I'd be spending around kids.
atlasburped atlasburped 8 years
wow. didn't know that the vaccine was a requirement in ny and i live here! i guess its a recent change. grew up with 10 cousins living in the same town as me. so yeah talk about having a pox party...and a lice party...and a flu party...and...should i keep going? LOL. but having the chicken pox didn't seem that big of a deal to me? is a vaccine really necessary? maybe i'm wrong, but i just remember how i didn't have to go to school for some time and that kept me happy.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
it sounds like a new idea to me, and it sounds crazy!
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I agree with meandtheo, it's hardly a new idea. And like all vaccines, you can opt out due to personal or religious reasons.
meandtheo meandtheo 8 years
this is hardly a new idea...i was born before the chicken pox vaccine came about and it was the norm to spread the pox with the neighborhood children. i however believe in vaccines so will not be sending my child to any chicken pox parties...
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