Would You Let Your Child Attend a Chicken Pox Party?

by , 11/07/11

chicken pox party, pox party, chicken pox, deadly chicken pox, shingles, viruses, vaccine safety, chicken pox vaccine, chicken pox complications, baby health, adult chicken pox

Chicken pox parties are something that have been fairly off the radar — well, our radar anyhow. But a recent scam to sell the chicken pox virus through the mail has brought the trend front and center, sending both parents and the media into a tizzy. The scam at hand was started by a Facebook page called “Find A Pox Party In Your Area”, which has since been deleted — because while pox parties are legal, sending any sort of virus or germs through the U.S. postal service without using a biohazard or biomedical waste service is 100% illegal. Though concerns over the mail issue have for the most part dissipated, worries over chicken pox parties have just begun. Facebook pages such “Find a Pox Party Near You” are creating a space for parents to promote parties to other parents who are willing to take their child to an infected home. In these homes, children can catch the virus and become immune without the need for vaccination. Read on to learn more.

Would you let your child attend a chicken pox party?

  • 123 Votes Sure, catching chicken pox from other kids sounds safer than vaccines.
  • 164 Votes No, I'm getting my child vaccinated against chicken pox.
  • 24 Votes I'm not sure.

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chicken pox party, pox party, chicken pox, deadly chicken pox, shingles, viruses, vaccine safety, chicken pox vaccine, chicken pox complications, baby health, adult chicken pox

Chickenpox lesions on four-year-old day 5 of illness - image ©CDC/ J.D. Millar

What is Chicken Pox?

Chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Chicken pox is highly contagious and can be spread by direct contact or through the air by coughing or sneezing. This virus is also spread through direct contact with any fluid from a blister of a person infected with the virus or from contact with someone with the shingles virus. While the CDC and chicken pox party supporters point out that usually chicken pox presents as a mild problem in children, the illness is not so mild in adults. Mild and common symptoms of chicken pox include the telltale itchy rash (pox), fever, coughing, fussiness, headache, and loss of appetite and the illness can last for 5–10 days.

Adults are more likely to experience harsher chicken pox symptoms, but young children are at risk too. Advanced complications and symptoms include bacterial infection of the skin or other parts of the body including the bones, lungs, joints, and blood, pneumonia or infection of the brain. About 50 people a year suffer from infected chicken pox blisters; in some cases the bacterial infection is caused by group A streptococcus (GAS) which can lead to “flesh-eating bacteria,” or streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS). This destroys muscles, fat, and skin tissue and causes a rapid drop in blood pressure and organ failure. People die from STSS each year in the USA.

Complications aside, because the virus is often milder in children, some parents still choose exposure over vaccine, hence the chicken pox parties. However, this is a risk you should weigh carefully, as chicken pox is not so mild as it seems.

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6 Responses to “Would You Let Your Child Attend a Chicken Pox Party?”

  1. SabrinaMBowen says:

    We are waiting until our daughter, now 10mos, is at least 18mos, and then we will start actively looking for Pox parties in our area. We would like to see our children get chickenpox as young as possible so that their bodies can properly fight the illness and form a strong immunity to it naturally. We do not vaccinate for ANY reason, and will continue not to.

  2. chunkylimey says:

    Just another bunch of dangerous Luddites. Sadly they infect their children with their stupidity as well.

  3. harlequinn says:

    Fine, don’t immunise your children. But if they come down with cholera, diphtheria, Hib, hep. A or B, HPV, measles, mumps, meningococcal, pertussis, pneumococcal, poliomyelitis, Q fever, rotavirus, rubella, smallpox, tetanus, tuberculosis, typhoid, varicella, yellow fever or herpes zoster (chicken pox), then please don’t come asking for free medical attention or expect your insurance to cover it. You are given an option to prevent these diseases. If you choose not to prevent these diseases then you can bear the cost of the medical treatment (and funeral for a lot of these diseases).

    Most of these diseases might seem like unreal fairytales – that’s because human ingenuity controlled them with immunisation. They are still very real diseases with very real outcomes. The statistical chance of contracting these diseases through lack of immunisation is an order of magnitude higher than the chance of any reaction (proven or not) from the immunisation.

  4. ValentinJournalist says:

    Hi,

    I’m a journalist and I’m willing to do a story about pox parties in the area of NY, NJ, …

    If someone is ok to discuss about it and accept an interview during a pox party to explain why he organizes this kind of event, let me know.

    Thanks,

    All best,

    Valentin

    You can contact me here : valentin@keepinnews.com

  5. MichelleW says:

    Whether or not I vaccinate my child against the chicken pox, I still would not knowingly and willfully expose them to a virus that will cause them to be sick and uncomfortable. I’d rather take my chances on them maybe getting it, maybe not.

  6. aniederhofer says:

    Looking for a pox party in the sf bay area. Will travel.

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