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Teen still hasn't had chicken pox... your thoughts?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I am really not willing to get him vaccinated, but if knowledgable, experience non-vax experts tell me I really should get him vaccinated, I don't know...I will read it.  :)

 

My 14 year old son has never had the chicken pox, as far as I know.  I have tried to expose him twice to chicken pox and once to shingles, to no avail.  I have searched for chicken pox in our state many times (there's a very old but occasionally active thread on here that I get notifications for on occasion).  He is still just shy of the major puberty time, I believe, so if he got it now, I'd be thrilled.  (I also have an 11 year old and 2 year old who need exposure, too).  

 

So...what do you think?  Should I just continue to wait?  I have not had his titers done, mostly because we don't currently have a pediatrician or doctor that I like, and because I have read that they can be inaccurate.  

 

What do you think?  Do you have any advice for me?

 

***Edited to add that I am not interested in people who think vaccination is a good thing.  I am strongly anti-vaccines.  That won't change.  That is why I posted in "I am not vaccinating".  Thank you!***

post #2 of 19

I am in somewhat the same boat.  My situation  is a little worse, because my 10 yr old who has not had CP is a girl - and CP can be dangerous in pregnancy.

 

 

Chicken pox has declined in recent years, though, so maybe it is moving into the "we do not need to overly worry about it because it is rare."

 

prevalence:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/cases&deaths.pdf

 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/chickenpox-down-80-percent-since-2000/

 

Someone who had wild CP can get shingles, someone who has the CP vaccine can get shingles, someone who had neither cannot get shingles.

 

Chicken pox does seem to have a higher complication rate in adults, but I am having trouble pinning down just how much worse it is.  Is the complication rate worth a vaccine?  I don't know.

 

I will probably will have her titers checked if she has blood draw for any reason. 

 

I fell like I am in a "wait and see" mode with CP.

 

I did read the most common complication in adults was pneumonia.  They said those with previous respiratory issues, as well as smokers, were more at risk, fwiw.

post #3 of 19

My DH swears he did not have CP as a kid, and his older sister attests to that (his mom, who is now deceased, also told him he did not have it). He got shingles a few years ago, so we know he must have had it to some degree. Considering you've exposed your son so many times, perhaps your son has had a mild enough case that it wasn't apparent, but has the immunity (?) Not sure how that works, but it's something to consider.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I am in somewhat the same boat.  My situation  is a little worse, because my 10 yr old who has not had CP is a girl - and CP can be dangerous in pregnancy.

 

 

Chicken pox has declined in recent years, though, so maybe it is moving into the "we do not need to overly worry about it because it is rare."

 

prevalence:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/cases&deaths.pdf

 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/chickenpox-down-80-percent-since-2000/

 

Someone who had wild CP can get shingles, someone who has the CP vaccine can get shingles, someone who had neither cannot get shingles.

 

Chicken pox does seem to have a higher complication rate in adults, but I am having trouble pinning down just how much worse it is.  Is the complication rate worth a vaccine?  I don't know.

 

I will probably will have her titers checked if she has blood draw for any reason. 

 

I fell like I am in a "wait and see" mode with CP.

 

I did read the most common complication in adults was pneumonia.  They said those with previous respiratory issues, as well as smokers, were more at risk, fwiw.

 

Hmm, I was under the impression that you could catch chicken pox by touching/ingesting the fluid from shingles.  Do you not think that's possible?  We didn't expect him to get shingles from shingles, at least.  

 

You make some great points.  Perhaps I don't need to worry much.  Interesting...  :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloebelle View Post

My DH swears he did not have CP as a kid, and his older sister attests to that (his mom, who is now deceased, also told him he did not have it). He got shingles a few years ago, so we know he must have had it to some degree. Considering you've exposed your son so many times, perhaps your son has had a mild enough case that it wasn't apparent, but has the immunity (?) Not sure how that works, but it's something to consider.

 

I have definitely considered that and can only cross my fingers and hope!!  My husband also thought he hadn't had chicken pox, but his older sister swears they all had it (he was the youngest of 8).  He had a bad memory when it comes to his childhood though, so I am never sure what the true story is.  LOL!

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post

 

Hmm, I was under the impression that you could catch chicken pox by touching/ingesting the fluid from shingles.  Do you not think that's possible?  We didn't expect him to get shingles from shingles, at least.  

 

You can.  It has to come from direct physical contact with a shingles blister, though.  

post #6 of 19
Some kids have little reaction to the chicken pox. Not every child has itchy red bumps. Some just get a small fever & it could even happen at night or without you even knowing. He might have already gotten it?
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

You can.  It has to come from direct physical contact with a shingles blister, though.  

 

Cool!  It was kind of gross but that's what we tried.  haha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthmoma View Post

Some kids have little reaction to the chicken pox. Not every child has itchy red bumps. Some just get a small fever & it could even happen at night or without you even knowing. He might have already gotten it?

So I can hope...  Thanks.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post

So I can hope...  Thanks.

 

Yes, I think you can hope! I have never had chicken pox, although my siblings, cousins, friends and children have all had it, and I was exposed many times both as a child and an adult. I would say I am likely immune and had a sub-clinical infection probably when my brother, who is 14 months younger than me, had it. It was I think when I was around 7 or 8.

post #9 of 19
I had the chicken pox when I was 13, after my mom had tried and failed to expose me multiple times in childhood. And honestly, it was so miserable. I wouldn't wish that bad of a case on anyone, and thus will probably offer/encourage the vax if my kids haven't had it by that age. But that is just due to my own painful experience with it, which granted didn't give me any lasting side effects.

What does your teen think? Share the pros and cons and maybe he can decide.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachieface View Post

I had the chicken pox when I was 13, after my mom had tried and failed to expose me multiple times in childhood. And honestly, it was so miserable. I wouldn't wish that bad of a case on anyone, and thus will probably offer/encourage the vax if my kids haven't had it by that age. But that is just due to my own painful experience with it, which granted didn't give me any lasting side effects.

What does your teen think? Share the pros and cons and maybe he can decide.

 He just hopes to get it.  He was very happy to try to catch it from shingles blisters and others with CP.  He has had two bad reactions to vaccines before I stopped vaccinating my children when he was 5.  They were awful.  The ingredients in the chicken pox vaccine are horrendous and I just don't think I could ever risk it.  He would agree with me, if I were to offer it as an option.  Honestly, I don't think it is very effective, either, since everyone we knew who got CP had been vaccinated, which is also what our pediatricians said at the time, everyone they saw with CP was vaccinated.

 

Thank you for your input.  

 

I did have whooping cough once and it was awful, hard, throwing up every day from the coughing for over 4 months.  Miserable.  But I still would not vaccinate for it. 

post #11 of 19
Take him to get a titter test. I never had visible chicken pox but show inmunity to it somehow. Never vaccinated and I'm an adult (35). He could have had such a mild case that it went unnoticed. My mom also tried to get me infected when my siblings and cousins had it and nothing. Then, years later we found out why!
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maos211 View Post

Take him to get a titter test. I never had visible chicken pox but show inmunity to it somehow. Never vaccinated and I'm an adult (35). He could have had such a mild case that it went unnoticed. My mom also tried to get me infected when my siblings and cousins had it and nothing. Then, years later we found out why!

So if he gets a titer test and it shows no immunities to CP, what then?  I have read many times that they aren't accurate anyway, so if that happens, maybe I won't trust the results anyway?  LOL! What would you do at that point?

post #13 of 19

I tend to think you have your answer.  He does not want the vaccine, you do not want the vaccine, you question the effectiveness of titers and of the vaccine (I agree with the vaccine, btw…this whole "I got it, but I got it milder" thing just sounds like justification to me).  To me it sound like you should just not vaccinate.

 

What might be a question, though, is when do you stop trying to get CP as it is milder in kids, and when to you start trying to avoid it?

 

A number of sites seemed to think 13 was the cutoff age for children in terms "it is safer to get it in childhood".  They were pretty mainstream, vaccine pushing sites, though…so I do not know.  One site said 15.

 

In any event, at 14 I suspect I would be trying to avoid CP as opposed to trying to get it.  To each their won though, and if anyone has any links ( complications by age would be great!) on when CP starts to become less benign, I would be all ears.  

 

I thought this was interesting:

http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/2/383.long

 

It has lots of numbers around death rate from CP by age group, in the pre-vaccine era. 


Edited by kathymuggle - 2/24/13 at 12:05pm
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the great post, kathymuggle.  I really found that article interesting, too.  I almost think getting CP from 15-19 might be best!  (so few deaths, LOL!)

I do have fears about vaccines and don't trust them, but even our chiropractor said last year that if my son didn't get it soon, if she were me, she'd have him vaccinated.  But, I have a friend whose son was vaccine damaged at 18 months, and because she was pregnant and fearful, and her pediatrician said, "please get your son a DPT shot for the baby's sake", she caved and at 5 years old, that same boy got a DPT shot...and lost most speech for 6 months and regressed in many other areas.  Cue intensive frequent sessions with a homeopathic doctor and holistic chiropractor to help detox him and get him back to "normal".  I can't imagine the guilt I'd feel if I encouraged my son to get the CP vax and it harmed him, like my friend's son was harmed.  I feel like the vaccine would be more dangerous than chicken pox at any age!  And then there's the idea that we don't really know if the AAP/CDC are going to start recommending boosters for all adults every 10 years for the rest of their lives, because the vaccine wears off...and what could be the effects of that.  Sigh...so much to think about and weigh.  

 

So, I think I will probably just sit on it, get his titers done sometime soon (probably) for curiosity' sake and see what happens with my 2 & 11 year olds.  Naturally, if they catch it at some point, that will leave him vulnerable, IF he isn't already immune.  I think I am not going to worry.  

 

Thank you to everyone!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I tend to think you have your answer.  He does not want the vaccine, you do not want the vaccine, you question the effectiveness of titres and of the vaccine (I agree with the vaccine, btw…this whole "I got it, but I got it milder" thing just sounds like justification to me).  To me it sound like you should just not vaccinate.

 

What might be a question, though, is when do you stop trying to get CP as it is milder in kids, and when to you start trying to avoid it?

 

You were absolutely correct here, I think.  

post #15 of 19
I would have arrived at the same conclusion! smile.gif best wishes.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post

 He just hopes to get it.  He was very happy to try to catch it from shingles blisters and others with CP.  He has had two bad reactions to vaccines before I stopped vaccinating my children when he was 5.  They were awful.  The ingredients in the chicken pox vaccine are horrendous and I just don't think I could ever risk it.  He would agree with me, if I were to offer it as an option.  Honestly, I don't think it is very effective, either, since everyone we knew who got CP had been vaccinated, which is also what our pediatricians said at the time, everyone they saw with CP was vaccinated.

 

Thank you for your input.  

 

I did have whooping cough once and it was awful, hard, throwing up every day from the coughing for over 4 months.  Miserable.  But I still would not vaccinate for it. 

My nieces DD had been vaccinated for CP, and got it twice as a toddler (never knew that was possible, but they diagnosed her both times with CP). Apparently got it so bad, her sores got infected. Having the vaccine did nothing to ease the symptoms. Miserable.

post #17 of 19

The majority of cases today, 68% according to CDC, are in vaccinated individuals.

FWIW I had it as a child but only had one lesion.

post #18 of 19
I had it at 13. My dad had shingles, then I got cp, then my brothers (3 & 6 years younger than me) both got it. I was by far the sickest. I had pox everywhere- in my ears, mouth, etc, and I was just covered. Plus I was still sick for days after everyone else recovered. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't awful enough that I would vaccinate for it. I can certainly appreciate your dilemma here, though. I hope DS catches it before he's your son's age so I won't have to cross that bridge.
post #19 of 19
I have read somewhere that mega doses of vitamin C help CP symptoms greatly. I *believe* both my kids have been exposed to CP, (one neighbour kid who was diagnosed with mild CP after being vaxxed & my BiL who had undiagnosed Shingles) but neither has had it yet. If and when they do get it, I will definately be using the Vit C mega dosing route.
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