For many years, before the chicken pox vaccine was available, parents used to have "chicken pox parties." The idea was to get it over with, as you knew it was only a matter of time before your children became infected with the chicken pox. Now, apparently, some parents are taking this to a new level. There is a Facebook Page titled, "Find A Pox Party." This multi-state group of parents favors "natural immunity." In so going, they purchase and sell chicken pox laced lollipops. The concept is simple and dangerous. A child that is acutely infected with chicken pox licks a lollipop. You buy the lollipop. You give that lollipop to your child. Your child gets infected with chicken pox. However, the consequences are not simple; in fact, they can be deadly.
Pediatricians do not recommend these parties. And we definitely are against these chicken pox lollipops. We recommend disease prevention, period.
Anyone who knowingly infects their child in the name of "natural immunity" while not being aware of the dangerous and deadly consequences, needs to become better informed. I hope that that the information in this blog post will educate many and thereby prevent disease. Parents may think, "What are the chances of that happening to my child? It almost never happens." Remember, it only takes one time, one disasterous infection, for a parent to live a live filled with regret.
First of all, it is important to know that prior to the vaccine, chicken pox used to kill 100 children in the U.S. every year. The chicken pox vaccine is the safest manner in which you can prevent your child from getting the disease.
Secondly, it is important to be educated regarding the possible complications that can arise from a chicken pox infection. Most people think it is only a simple skin infection that itches a whole lot; then goes away. Many complications can arise from chicken pox. Chicken pox can cause a myriad of complications, including, but not limited to shingles, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, seizures, cerebellar ataxia, meningitis, encephalitis, pneumonia, hepatitis, conjunctivitis, retinal vasculitis, secondary blindness, and a whole slew of secondary bacterial infections, including MRSA.
Another thing to consider is the chicken pox lollipop is carrying that infected child's medical history. That child could have had mono, AIDS, and many other diseases that are easily spread when there are open sores and/or saliva in their mouth. Simply put, the chicken pox lollipop is filled with the unknown and could be deadly.
Lastly, this news has gotten federal attention. Please be aware, that this is a federal crime on two counts. It is illegal to send any disease via U.S. mail or private mail. Also, it is illegal to alter or tamper with consumer products. Candy is a consumer product.