Just when you thought you've heard it all, you haven't!
A new trend anti-vax parents are following includes hosting a "chickenpox" party, where one child is infected with the virus and other children attend the party with the hopes that they too will become infected. Say what?!
I'm shaking my head at the sheer thought of this. As a parent, it is our duty to protect our children as best as we can. This seems like the exact opposite of that. But these anti-vaxxers believe that exposing their children to this virus is better than getting the chickenpox vaccine.
Pox party anyone?This idea was popular in the 70s and 80s, way before the chickenpox vaccine was created. As a kid, my mother made sure I contracted the virus when both my brother and sister had it. I was only 1-years-old at the time.
Chickenpox is something you want to avoid as an adult.
via: Shutterstock“In general, many infectious diseases are worse in adults than in children," Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior associate at the John’s Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF. “Adults may have more severe complications and may require hospitalization."
Chickenpox is highly contagious.
via: ShutterstockIt can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through touching the fluid from chickenpox blisters.
So in reality, these parents are also posing a threat to themselves if they've never had chickenpox as kids.And even if they did, they could still get shingles, which is another form of chickenpox.
This all seems a bit too risky.
via: ShutterstockBut for the anti-vaxxers, they think there is a greater risk with receiving the chickenpox vaccine.
Signs and symptoms of chickenpox.
via: ShutterstockYou probably had it as a child, but if not — according to the CDC, "the classic symptom is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs. The rash may first show up on the chest, back, and face, and then spread over the entire body, including inside the mouth, eyelids, or genital area. It usually takes about one week for all of the blisters to become scabs."
The chickenpox vaccine was introduced in 1995.
via: ShutterstockAnd before it was introduced to the public, in the early 90s, "an average of 4 million people got chickenpox, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died each year."
Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who's had chickenpox can develop shingles.
via: ShutterstockUnlike chickenpox, singles usually affects a small section — often one side — of your body. Symptoms may include: Pain, burning, numbness or tingling Sensitivity to touch A red rash that begins a few days after the pain Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over Itching
There are Facebook mom groups supporting and even organizing these "pox parties" to ensure their child is exposed to this virus because they fear the vaccine.Parents.com says that parents who fear there could be dangerous side effects of the vaccine are organizing "pox parties" in Boulder, Colorado in private Facebook groups.
But exposure to chickenpox is not a good idea say the experts.Contracting the virus as a young child is not necessarily life-threatening, but people have died from the virus in years past, so why take the risk?
If you do expose your kid to the pox, keep this in mind.
via: ShutterstockIf you're a working parent, you will need to keep your child home from daycare or school for at least one week (because of all those painful blisters and fever, tiredness). I don't know about you but, I'd rather waste my personal days doing fun activities with my kids.
And chickenpox can be life-threatening for some.
via: ShutterstockThe virus "does bring with it the potential for serious complications including pneumonia, bleeding problems, encephalitis (brain swelling), bacterial skin infections, toxic shock syndrome, bone and joint infections, and even death."
The vaccine has been proven safe. So why take the risk?
via: ShutterstockThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed the varicella vaccine safe for use in 1995. "It is a single-antigen vaccine that protects only against chickenpox. Many studies were done before the vaccine was licensed that showed Varivax is safe." Millions of people in the United States have received the vaccine safely. "During 1995 through 2011, over 120 million doses of Varivax were distributed in the U.S."
Anti-vaxxers often state that the "big pharma" just want our money and to inject our kids with poison.But, this nurse makes a great rebuttal. When your kid does fall ill with a virus, you usually take "big pharma" meds to help your child get better.
And many healthcare professionals, like this nurse, are completely offended that people actually have this viewpoint.Last I checked, nurses and doctors help you to bring a baby into this world. Why would they want to eradicate the entire population by promoting vaccines? Seems a bit illogical.
And many agree.Her post was shared 37,000 times and generated 5.5k comments!
But the anti-vax madness doesn't stop with the parties.There are other ways parents have learned to ensure their child gets the pox without the vaccine.
By licking a lollipop.Apparently, it's possible to purchase an item online — usually a lollipop — that contains the chickenpox virus. Once your child "licks" the Lolli, boom! He or she will be infected with the virus "naturally." Only in America!
This is disgusting and wrong on several levels.Oh, and it's totally ILLEGAL to mail a virus in the United States.
What if that lollipop ended up in the wrong person's hands?
via: ShutterstockI smell a lawsuit. And a bunch of other health issues associated with this.
Not vaccinating your child is a selfish act.The bottom line is, is that if you choose to not vaccinate your child, you are also threatening other children's lives. Your kid could pose a threat to any baby that is not of age to receive a vaccine. And that's not OK. And whether you vaccinate or don't — we all go to the same stores. Exposure is everywhere!
As with anything, there are pros and cons.However, it seems there are more cons in taking your kid to a "pox party." Think about other infections they could pick up?
These parents actually have their kids sit in a tent together.Breathe in the same air and share snacks. You know, to make sure they are fully exposed to the virus. This sounds downright absurd — and gross.
Oh, but they did it in the 70s, right?!Sure, yep. But they also smoked cigarettes and exhaled in our face without a thought of all the toxins we inhaled as kids. Oh, and many drank alcohol while pregnant. But, we know better now.
Our moms drank and smoke when we were in utero.
via: ShutterstockBecause the risks were unknown at the time.