What’s the latest trend in parties for kids? Pox parties!
Pox parties are cropping up around the country, no it has nothing to do with music or the latest fad, instead they center on a common childhood illness chicken pox.
Many parents are concerned about the chicken pox immunization and the possible risks associated with the vaccine. They are also aware that children do need to get the disease because chicken pox as an adult is usually associated with complications. The solution – pox parties!
Parents who want their child exposed to the chicken pox virus join an email ring. Then when a child gets the chicken pox an email is sent out and a pox party is planned. Other parents bring their child to the sick child’s house and expose them to the disease. Thus preventing the need to vaccinate and eliminate the dangers of getting chicken pox as an adult.
Personally I don’t know why a parent would want to expose their child to a disease that is so uncomfortable and has possible long-term side effects or even death. The U.S. Department of Health and Services lists the possible consequences of getting the chicken pox. These include:
- A itchy rash accompanied with fever and tiredness (guaranteed)
- Possible severe skin infections and scars
- Because the disease stays in the system it can cause shingles later in life – shingles is a painful condition accompanied by red itchy blotches and sometimes causes paralysis that may be permanent (my sister has had shingles a number of times and it is awful)
- Can cause pneumonia – about 12,000 people are hospitalized with chicken pox each year
- One in 50,000 kids gets a brain infection that causes retardation or death
- About 100 people die each year from chickenpox
The chicken pox vaccine prevents chicken pox in 85% of children and adults. My son was vaccinated and did not get the chicken pox when both of my girls who had not been immunized yet got it from the neighbors. If a child who has been immunized does get it the effects are usually mild, with fewer spots and a faster recovery.
So what are the possible consequences of getting the vaccination? The Center for Disease Control says:
- Any medicine, including vaccines are capable of causing severe allergic reactions. (Many people are allergic to penicillin, 10-20%, but that doesn’t stop parents from using it to treat many childhood illnesses.)
The risk of serious harm or death is extremely small, smaller than the chance of death from actually having the chicken pox.
- Most people do not have anything other than minor side effects, which include: soreness at shot site, fever, or a mild rash (1 out of 20).
- Moderate problems, which affect less than 1 out of 1,000, include seizure symptoms caused by fever.
- Possible severe problems are the same as the severe problems associated with the actual virus such as pneumonia and brain reactions. These are very rare and death from the vaccine has not been recorded.
As far as I’m concerned the possible serious consequences of getting the chicken pox far outweigh the risks associated with the immunization. Immunizations would not be used if they held greater risks than the actual disease and the chicken pox vaccine is no exception.
Immunization is a personal choice, but what if your child died as a result of attending a pox party? It could happen.
Click here for more information about the chicken pox disease and how to deal with the disease if your child gets it.