3 Reasons Not to Send Your Child to a Chicken Pox Party
There’s a good chance, if you have young kids, you’ve had the strange experience of being invited to send your kids over to a friend’s house for a Houston neighborhood “chickenpox party”. This is an event where parents choose to expose their children to the infectious disease Varicella in the wild (commonly known as Chicken Pox) instead of having them immunized with the varicella vaccine.
Why would parents do this? Because some people believe it is a more effective way to build up a defense against this disease.
While it has been the practice for many generations here in the United States to expose young children to Chicken Pox, we’d like to caution you against participating in these parties. Despite common misconceptions that diseases like Varicella are relatively harmless, it’s important to never take infectious diseases for granted.
But, if you’ve been invited to send your kids along to a party, and you’re unsure whether you should take advantage of it instead of having them vaccinated with the varicella vaccine, here are 3 reasons not to participate in Chickenpox parties.
Reason 1- Chicken Pox Isn’t Actually A Harmless Disease
Many parents participate in pox parties because when they got chickenpox as a child they turned out fine. This is one of the most important things to understand about any illness that you have the choice to vaccinate against… if the scientific community has gone to the effort of creating a vaccine and then including it in the immunization plan for children, it is a necessity to protect against that disease.
As evidence, consider life before we vaccinated against Varicella, it was responsible for more than 10,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths each year in the United States.
The itchy rash and fevers are the least of your concerns when you expose your child to the disease in the “wild”. You can’t know how severe the strain is that you are exposing them to, nor the extent of the demand it will have upon their immune systems.
However, when you vaccinate your child with the chicken pox vaccine you can be confident that they will receive safe doses that won’t result in severe symptoms and in most cases won’t have any symptoms at all.
Reason 2- Even Mild Cases Cost You A Week Of Time You Can’t Get Back
Consider the full commitment you’re going into when you expose your children to Chicken Pox and expect to ride out the sickness with them. What does this mean? It means you can’t go to work, you can’t take your children to the store or running errands. You or your partner will be at home with your child for a week or more.
A lot of people don’t realize just how demanding caring for a child sick with Chickenpox can be. The discomfort of your little one is not minor, it is constant. They’re itchy, hot, tired, and often they won’t eat. There are only a few treatments and these simply help assuage the discomfort of the side effects while you go through the cycle of the virus.
Reason 3- Your Child Can Spread The Disease To Other People
The final reason not to participate in a pox party is because of how incredibly infectious this disease is. While you make think it’s fine for your child to get sick and go through the cycle of the Varicella disease, this is a highly contagious virus that your child can easily spread to anyone who comes in contact with them. As a matter of fact, your child can spread the disease to people long before you even realize they have contracted the virus, we’re talking as much as 48 hours before they show signs of the infamous rash.
This means if your child has crossed paths with anyone who has immune system problems or a weakened immune system they could spread the disease and cause severe illness before you even know to keep them quarantined.
Additionally, it isn’t commonly understood by most parents, but your child who has chicken pox isn’t just a risk to other children, they can infect adults they come into contact with as well. And when adults contract the varicella virus they are actually more likely to have complications from the disease.
A Better Option Than Chickenpox Parties- The Varicella Vaccine
Though it seems obvious to us, we hope you can see that there is a MUCH better option for your children than taking them to a pox party and that is having them vaccinated with the varicella vaccine.
Here are a couple of quick reasons why:
- You don’t have to worry about a dangerous strain of chickenpox causing severe complications for your child’s health or compromising their immune system.
- When given the vaccine your child is NOT contagious and won’t spread the disease to anyone else.
- In rare cases where your child did not develop enough immunity and might contract the infection from exposure to it their infection will typically be very mild and short-lived.
If you’re following the childhood immunizations schedule guidelines suggested by the Texas Department of Health Services your child should receive two doses of the varicella vaccine, first one received during the 12 through 15 months span, second dose received between 4 and 6 years.
If you come down to Angels Medical we’ll help get your child vaccinated against Chicken Pox today so you can go on your way without worrying about all the children out there contagious from pox parties!
For more answers to your questions about vaccinating your children and what you should know about the process check out our articles: