Wanna party? Chicken pox parties are back in town

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In a recent case that has come into light in California a woman was offered to send her unvaccinated children to a measles party. Although she refused, this has opened the path to arguments about these parties.

The situation in the US is now rather critical since over 100 cases of an eradicated disease have been signaled in 16 different states. This has led parents to doubt the efficiency of the vaccine and to believe that getting their kids infected with the virus in its wild state will provide stronger long term immunity.

Chicken pox and immunity

Chicken Pox is caused by the zoster virus that can spread itself through air, direct contact with the rash, or contact with the sheets and clothes of infected person. Once contacted, the virus gives a lifelong immunity against the disease.

Chicken Pox can be more painful and dangerous during adulthood. That is why it is preferred to introduce the virus in the immune system during childhood. As medics explain it, the current outbreak of measles is linked to the idea that vaccinating an infant will lead to autism. This fear is totally ill-founded, nonetheless it is popular.

Reasons for pox parties’ popularity

Despite of the approval of these vaccines, there are fractions of people who believe in these parties.  There are groups on social media where these play dates and sleepovers are being requested and advertised every other day.  These requests have especially increased with the increase in the number of cases of shingles.

With the acknowledgement of medical community that shingles is indeed caused by the dormant Chicken Pox virus, people’s faith in vaccine is quite shaken.  These groups have become more active, adding adults to the parties as well.

They believe that being exposed and re-exposed in a chicken pox party is a natural way of arming against both of these diseases. They are even ready to pay for the infected items like lollipops that can transmit the virus. This seems to rise entirely new issues from a medical point of view.

This is not the first time pox parties are a thing, it is merely a recycled idea from the 80’s when the parties were really popular.

Medics opinion

Doctors have repeatedly warned against such methods, but to no avail. First of all, contacting the disease and carrying it through is not a fluke. Here’s why medics do not advise this uncontrolled method of contracting chicken pox:

  • The infections like Chicken Pox usually causes fever and itchy bumps which can scar if scratched.
  • These can appear anywhere on the body resulting in unnecessary discomfort and pain to the child.
  • There are chances of case of a Chicken Pox getting complicated because of bacterial infection or pneumonia.
  • Chicken Pox can even result in death in some cases.
  • There are chances of transmitting other unknown diseases like Hepatitis A and Flu through these lollipops and parties.

As per the statistics, before the approval of the first Chicken Pox vaccine, there were about 150 deaths in children per year in the US from Chicken Pox.

In the US the state of California has explicitly advised against this type of parties and hosting them, however they are growing in popularity and are becoming a social media item.

 

References

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/10/california-officials-warn-against-measles-parties/

http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/02/09/measles-parties-some-parents-want-infect-kids-build-immunity

http://www.medicaldiscoverynews.com/shows/284-party.html

https://www.facebook.com/LetsHaveAChickenpoxParty/timeline

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401362/Chickenpox-Parties.html