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why expose your child to chicken pox?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all,  I'm new to this forum-- I signed up to get more info on baby wearing.  I was reading through the threads and saw a few for chicken pox parties.  I'm just curious why you would want to expose your child to the chicken pox?  I'm a bit confused!  Just want to know what is going on.  I'm a new mom-- my son is 5 months old. Thanks.

post #2 of 11

So they get chicken pox  :)  I'll speak for myself here, but I bet I'm not the only one on mdc like me.  I don't vaccinate my children for chicken pox, and I would prefer they get it as children and get natural immunity from it.  Fortunately for me, all my kids have had it!  But if they hadn't I would definitely be interested in chicken pox parties  :)

post #3 of 11

Well, there are lots of reasons, and much like everything else, it all boils down to choice.

A) Scientifically they have shown people who experience an illness have far superior immunity to people who have been vaccinated.  Amazing how our bodies are naturally far superior to anything that can be created in a laboratory.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12152500

B) People who don`t experience chicken pox will usually have shingles later in life (which I understand to be incredibly painful).  You actually need to be re-exposed every 10 years or so to keep your natural immunity up.

C) After age 2 or so, the earlier you get chicken pox, the shorter the duration and the less its intensity (in general).

All in all, it`s actually common sense to make sure children are able to have chicken pox and preferably relatively early (although not too early).

Hope this helps.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies!  I never really thought about it but what you say is really interesting.  Appreciate the input.

post #5 of 11

I merely have an anecdote to share, but my mom was an ICU nurse, and the sickest person she ever saw (including all the various heart/stroke patients) was a young woman (mid to late twenties) with chicken pox. She was on a breathing machine because of the pox in her lungs. As someone else stated, in general, the younger you get it (past 2) the easier it is.  My cousin had the vaccine (before they started adding boosters), and got chicken pox in 8th grade.  I would way rather my kids get the real thing and have real immunity than risk having it as an adult when it is more likely to have severe side effects. I'm not against all vaccines necessarily, but this one I feel strongly about.

post #6 of 11

I think having chicken pox does actually leave one vulnerable to shingles later in life (the chicken pox virus stays in the nervous system for life). However, the slight possibility of shingles is far better than newly acquiring the virus as an adult.

post #7 of 11

Being exposed to chicken pox does make you vulnerable to shingles. The vaccine does not.

 

Having had shingles, which were painful and led me to need weeks off of work and anti-viral medication, I'd rather have my child avoid it. It's highly contagious, as is chicken pox, and I could have given it to the one-year-old I was watching at the time or his dad. Scary :/

post #8 of 11

Actually, that's not true.  The chicken pox vaccine is a live virus so it can cause chicken pox, which means it can eventually cause shingles.  My neice got a mild case of the chicken pox after she was vaccinated and then got shingles twice within a year of getting the vaccine.  It was documented by a dermatologist who tested the lesions on her.  (Even though it looked like shingles and had the symptoms of shingles the dr. at first said she didn't know what it was since her pharmaceutical company supplemented education told her that wasn't supposed to happen.)  It was horrible to watch a 2 year old suffer from shingles.  It would have been better to just let her get the chicken pox naturally.  Shingles has been on the rise since the chicken pox vaccine because being around someone with chicken pox is like getting a natural booster shot, so you don't get shingles.  Go to NVIC.org and check out the adverse reactions to the chicken pox vaccine and you will understand why so many moms want their kids to get chicken pox naturally.

post #9 of 11

Both the vaccine and having naturally acquired chicken pox leave you vulnerable to shingles, unfortunately.  Shingles is not as contagious as chicken pox, fortunately - you need to come in contact with the lesions to transmit it.  Having said that, though, my oldest son got chicken pox from my husband's shingles.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrineg View Post

Being exposed to chicken pox does make you vulnerable to shingles. The vaccine does not.

 

Having had shingles, which were painful and led me to need weeks off of work and anti-viral medication, I'd rather have my child avoid it. It's highly contagious, as is chicken pox, and I could have given it to the one-year-old I was watching at the time or his dad. Scary :/



 

post #10 of 11

Getting shingles as a result of the chicken pox vaccine does happen, but it's very, very rare and not comparable to the risk of shingles by getting the actual virus.

 

The vaccine is a live virus, but it is not virulent. That means that it's essentially crippled. That makes it very rare to get chicken pox from the vaccine, because a normal immune system can kick its ass very easily.

 

You still have a smaller risk of getting a milder form of chicken pox "naturally" after getting the vaccine.

 

You can also get a rash from the vaccine itself although it's different from chicken pox. 

 

Considering the risk of getting the vaccine vs the risk of getting chicken pox naturally (and shingles naturally) I would still rather have been vaccinated. It wasn't taken as seriously when I was a kid which is too bad--I knew two people who died from "natural" cases of chicken pox.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrineg View Post

Getting shingles as a result of the chicken pox vaccine does happen, but it's very, very rare and not comparable to the risk of shingles by getting the actual virus.

 

The vaccine is a live virus, but it is not virulent. That means that it's essentially crippled. That makes it very rare to get chicken pox from the vaccine, because a normal immune system can kick its ass very easily.

 

You still have a smaller risk of getting a milder form of chicken pox "naturally" after getting the vaccine.

 

You can also get a rash from the vaccine itself although it's different from chicken pox. 

 

Considering the risk of getting the vaccine vs the risk of getting chicken pox naturally (and shingles naturally) I would still rather have been vaccinated. It wasn't taken as seriously when I was a kid which is too bad--I knew two people who died from "natural" cases of chicken pox.


You have some misinformation in your posts.

 

Shingles and chicken pox are caused by the same virus- herpes zoster. The following is from Web MD:

 

[quote]What causes shingles?

Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.

You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles. But a person with a shingles rash can spread chickenpox to another person who hasn't had chickenpox and who hasn't gotten the chickenpox vaccine.[/quote]

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-topic-overview

 

So the 1 year old child you babysat could have caught the chicken pox from you if he/she touched the lesions. If his/her dad already had the chicken pox (which is most likely the case, since most American adults over the age of 25 got natural chicken pox before the vaccine came out). Neither one of them would have gotten shingles from you. You basically get shingles from yourself.

 

Anybody who has the dormant chicken pox virus in their nerve roots can get shingles, which means that pretty everyone who either had the chicken pox or got the shot can get shingles.

 

There have been cases of the chicken pox vaccine "shedding" and children in places such as daycares and preschools catching the chicken pox from the child who was vaccinated.

 

Many of the parents who expose their kids to chicken pox also do so because they want their kids to get the pox while they are young and in a controlled environment so that they can get natural lifelong immunity. The chicken pox shot does not give lifelong immunity, and parents would rather their child get the pox while young when its less risky vs if the vaccine wears off by the time the child is an adult and could catch it, when it is much more dangerous.

 

[quote]In a study appearing Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers confirm what doctors have already known — that the vaccine has sharply reduced the number of cases in children but that its protection does not last long.

With fewer natural cases of the disease, the study says, unvaccinated children or those whose first dose of the vaccine fails to work are getting chickenpox later in life, when the risk of complications is higher.

“If you’re unvaccinated and you get it later in life, there’s a 20-times greater risk of dying compared to a child, and a 10- to 15-times greater chance of getting hospitalized,” said Dr. Jane Seward of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who worked on the study.

Preliminary findings have already helped prompt the agency’s Advisory Committee onImmunization Practices to recommend a booster shot at age 4 to 6, and also for older children, adolescents and adults.

No one knows how long the effects of a second shot would last, said the research team, led by Dr. Sandra Chaves of the C.D.C.[/quote]

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/health/15pox.html

 

 

Its yet another parenting decision in which both choices have benefits and risks, and the parents must decide which case the benefits outweigh those risks.

 

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