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#1 of 26 Old 12-20-2008, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We do not vax. Our 8.5 month old seems to have come down with a mild case of chicken pox, picked up at dd1's preschool (we're about 75% sure). We anticipate that dd1 (age 3.5) will be next. We are pleased that the girls have been infected! But...we are about to head home for the holidays, leaving Monday. My sister, father and possibly my stepmom have not had cp and are therefore not immune. They are all quite concerned about the possibility of catching it from us. We will be staying at my mom's at first, and she is immune, so she is not concerned. But my sister and dad seem quite concerned, and from what I understand, justifiably...adult chicken pox is not a pleasant infection. So....I am wondering. Should we --keep our poxy kids away from that part of the family? Am I being irresponsible in thinking that it's okay to bring them home for the holidays? Should we be encouraging grandpa & auntie (and maybe stepmom) to get immunized? Feeling somewhat guilty and uncertain...
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#2 of 26 Old 12-20-2008, 10:53 PM
 
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I'd keep them home. Sorry. It's just not fair to subject your family who have not had chicken pox to it, and any immunizations they get will not have time to work by Monday, which is probably the soonest they could get the shot anyway.

Plus, your babies are likely to not feel too good right about then.
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#3 of 26 Old 12-20-2008, 10:58 PM
 
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As much as it is horribly inconvenient and disapointing, I would stay home- unless everyone you were going to be around has had cp in the past. It would be rude to head to see family and then expect everyone else to make the decision of whether or not it is worth it to them to see you and your children- since they'd be risking their health.
The respectable thing to do would to tell everyone that as much as you hate not to visit- it is best for everyone if you stay home until everyone is fully well. Maybe you can make an alternate trip later in the month or another time- but even if you can't, it would not be nice to expose anyone knowingly to a contagious illness. This includes obviously taking your kids out in general which i hope you are not doing- b/c you can never know when you are out who may have had it or not- and who may have immune deffiency issues as well.
I am glad that your kids got cp naturally and at a great age for it! But very sorry for the timing and circumstances. :-(

Also- getting immunized at this point would not really help them out for the moment. From what I understand it would not immediately be effective.
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#4 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 12:16 AM
 
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I think the cp vax is a live vax so they could actually get the cp from the vax. So doubly I wouldn't be recommending it to them at their age. However if they were around when their kids had cp or around other people when they had cp and never caught it they might just already be immune (which is another reason not to bother with a vax). I wouldn't be traveling with sick kids personally. I would hate to have my dc have a fever and be ill feeling while away from home. I would stay home. Poor timing! That sucks.

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#5 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh dear. I'm really not sure what to do--I hate disappointing people as well, and grandma who is immune and would be hosting us would be very upset. But I do recognize the seriousness (my sis was immunocompromised due to chemo at age 17). We would be avoiding family gatherings and visits, other than with the grandparents. But I know I am putting my sister in a difficult position....I think I will discuss with them.

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#6 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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My sister, father and possibly my stepmom have not had cp and are therefore not immune.
Your father and stepmom have likely had multiple exposures and had subclinical cases. My MIL has not had a clinical case of chicken pox but had three children with clinical cases; I betcha she's immune.

In any case I would not take children with the chicken pox to a party that was not specifically a 'pox party'.

And even if I believed that there was a benefit to injecting a live vaccination, I would not encourage anyone to take that risk so I could go to a party.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#7 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 02:45 PM
 
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It comes down, I think, to what they want. It might sound weird, but I think I would like to get the childhood diseases if/when my daughter does. I'm assuming your family members don't feel that way.
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#8 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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As sad as it would make me, I would stay home, especially with an immunocompromised relative in the mix. And I definitely wouldn't encourage anyone to get a vaccine just so I didn't have to change my plans. That seems very selfish to me.

Sorry about your holiday, mama.

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#9 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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I thought I was probably immune to cp after having been to a few pox parties as a child and never came down w/cp-can't remember if I had the vax as a child or not. Then as a nanny all the kids in our friend circle got it and so did I in my early to mid twenties. It was decidedly the worst experience of my life. I'm not sure I'd wish it on even an enemy.
Talk to your fam and see how they feel about getting exposed. I'm definitely glad I got it before having my own kids, but I know others do not feel that way.
It's a tough call for sure. Some kids don't even feel sick and would be fine traveling and others feel bleh and would rather be home, not to mention the risk of exposure to others... yada yada...
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#10 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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I'm the other parent in the mix here... just to clarify... SIL is no longer immunocompromised. There's no way we would expose someone immunocompromised. That would just be wrong. She's very sensitive to health threats because she was so sick as a teenager. She's a completely healthy adult now. The baby is her normal happy self and has about 8 spots. A mild dose at best. The OP (my wife) had CP as an adult - she was 28 at the time and had an easy go. Step mother, mother, MIL and all other adults have had them just not father and sister. Sister can go to father than mother as we go mother then father. Baby will probably be non-contageous by the time we get to father's house...

We have decided to let the relatives we're going to see decide on whether they want us to come or not since at this point baby is not at all having a hard time with them. We're more worried about our eldest getting them and being contageous while we're visiting. Father has been exposed. His sister had them as a child. Perhaps he is already immune anyway and was just never symptomatic.
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#11 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 08:01 PM
 
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It's a bummer for your mom (who is immune), not only because she'll not see her grandkids, but because exposure to them will make it less likely for her to get shingles.

However, given that there are several other adults that have questionable immunity to cp, in your shoes I would stay home.

Also, I would never encourage others to get vaxed for my own family's sake, but that's just me.
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#12 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We`re really struggling with this. Just to further clarify, my parents are divorced. We would be staying with mom this week, she is immune. We wouldn`t be seeing anyone else. Dad, who we would see next week, really really wants us to come, is pro-vax in any case and has offered to get the vax--his initiative. I have been encouraging him to find out whether or not he is immune first as it is likely unnecessary. Stepmom it turns out had them and also wants us to come.

It`s my sister that I`m concerned about. She was immunocompromised 13 years ago, but has been cancer free for more than 12 years and is healthy. But she obviously doesn`t want to get it--and I don`t want anyone to get it, least of all my sister. She is confirming tomorrow that she didn`t already get the vax to go to grad school or for her hospy job. She may have. When she lets us know, we`ll have more info. Still feeling really torn though.

ETA: no parties planned nor that we will be attending, even if they were planned.
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#13 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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I would stay home and make the trip when they are no longer contagious. The fact that you still have another child that has been exposed and very likely will be contagious while you are visiting isn't worth the trip. I would absolutely not even think about my dad getting a vax so we could visit. I love my dad and I surely don't want him to get a shot full nasty stuff just so he could see my kids when we could come the following week or make other arrangements.

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#14 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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I agree with talking to your family about their preferences. It is their decision whether they want to risk it or not.

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#15 of 26 Old 12-21-2008, 11:29 PM
 
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How are you traveling? If it's by car and you won't be making any stops, then talk to your family about their preferences. However, if you are traveling by bus, plane or train, don't go as you could expose others who you don't know. If by car and you will be making any stops or restroom breaks on the way...also consider that exposure to others.

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#16 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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I would not go. I would stay home, but that is just me. Not really so much because of the family, but because I just feel that kids need to go through these illnesses, and they need time to rest and recuperate. Even when they are seemingly mild, they need rest, down time, decreased stimulation, routine, and to be around their own familiar household germs. If your immune system is already working on one thing, I just think it's best not to give it more work to do at that particular time.

It is very common for babies of that age to have a very mild case of chicken pox. Baby still has some of mom's antibodies and is probably still nursing, getting lots of antibodies that mom is currently making even now. (That is one reason why shingles is increasing, because people aren't being regularly exposed to wild chicken pox virus anymore, which is like getting a booster.)

So, it's possible that baby will have very mild case. It's also possible that it's just starting, and there is more to come. Also, the 3 yo may be getting it, and in that case, could be itchy and miserable. But if you think that your 3 yo will be getting it from your baby, and not from the point of contact your baby had, then it may be a week or more (7-21 days is incubation period).

I personally would stay home, and if everyone was healthy and happy and in hindsight you could have gone anyway, I would look at it as a blessing and a relief to get to have a break with my kids and a relaxing time at home, and plan a trip for next time.

But just do what you are most comfortable with, because either way it will probably be fine!
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#17 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 02:24 AM
 
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The baby might have a mild case but there is no telling whether your older child might experience the same. You don't want to have to deal with an itchy, cranky, uncomfortable 3 year old while traveling. It's not fair to her, it's not fair to you, and it's not fair to your mom.

A pp also brings up a very valid point...you're concerned about your family, but what about all of the other people that might be exposed depending upon your mode of travel. Coupled with the general insanity of traveling around the holidays (we've gotten stuck way too many times and we now know better not to travel around Christmas), do you really want to chance getting stranded someplace with a sick/contagious child?

Is there any way your mother could come to see you instead? Then you can plan a trip for after the holidays for a visit with your dad and sister when everyone's healthy.

It's not what you want to hear...but staying home would be the most responsible thing to do given the situation.

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#18 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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Oh, noooo. Chicken pox. I had chicken pox when I was in second grade--a very mild case, sitting out in the yard on a blanket with my brother playing board games for a week. It was fun.

When I was nineteen, I was home from college and looking for a job as a nanny. One of the kids at one of the houses where I interviewed infected me with a second case. It was the sickest I have EVER been.

Pox in my nose, down my throat, on my eyeballs. Hours of laying on the couch staring up at the ceiling because I was too sick even to watch television or sleep. Chicken pox as an adult (or near-adult, at least) was a very different thing from chicken pox as a kid. I wouldn't take the chance of causing that experience for anyone.
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#19 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 02:51 AM
 
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As a non-immune (and non-vaxed) adult, I agree with letting everyone make their own call about whether or not they are willing to expose themselves to your kids. I wouldn't be totally freaked out about being exposed myself (unless I was pregnant), but I am not about to go out looking for it either.

I honestly don't know what I would do if I were in your relatives' shoes... but I do know that getting vaccinated wouldn't be an option. But no matter what, I think that is their call.

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#20 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
The baby might have a mild case but there is no telling whether your older child might experience the same.

Is there any way your mother could come to see you instead? Then you can plan a trip for after the holidays for a visit with your dad and sister when everyone's healthy.
: I was also thinking the same thing. If mom wants to see you have her come by to see you either before or after her gathering.

And, even tho the baby has a mild case that doesn't mean an adult that gets infected from the baby would also have a mild case. It could be different for each person.

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#21 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LaLaLaLa View Post
I had chicken pox when I was in second grade--a very mild case, sitting out in the yard on a blanket with my brother playing board games for a week. It was fun.

When I was nineteen, I was home from college and looking for a job as a nanny. One of the kids at one of the houses where I interviewed infected me with a second case. It was the sickest I have EVER been.

Pox in my nose, down my throat, on my eyeballs. Hours of laying on the couch staring up at the ceiling because I was too sick even to watch television or sleep. Chicken pox as an adult (or near-adult, at least) was a very different thing from chicken pox as a kid. I wouldn't take the chance of causing that experience for anyone.
Thanks for sharing this interesting information.

Apparently some of us who have had it mildly as children are not as immune as we think we are. I would not get the vaccine. However, I will keep your story in mind as I evaluate my and others' exposure.

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#22 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 11:50 AM
 
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Yes, I have heard of that happening, if one had a very mild case in childhood.

ALSO, to the OP, I have heard that it is less likely to confer lifelong immunity when the individual gets CP before the age of one. Maybe b/c they are still getting antibodies from mom, or they don't mount a strong enough immune response at that age? not sure why, but I've heard that many times.
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#23 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 12:00 PM
 
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This wouldn't be a difficult choice for me at all. Your sister has already expressed her strong concerns, and they are understandable. I would not be putting her in the position of choosing between missing the gathering and potentially getting sick (possibly very sick).

I also wouldn't be leaving this up to other people - is it fair for your grandmother or someone else to decide on behalf of your sister?

So to me this wouldn't be a "hard decision."

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#24 of 26 Old 12-22-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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Haven't read all the posts, but here is a link to a web site that shows the incubation and contagious times for themost common childhood illnesses...thought it might help you make a decision.
http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/pa/pa_incubate_hhg.htm

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#25 of 26 Old 12-23-2008, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well, thanks to all those who offered thoughtful, sensitive and sympathetic opinions.

In the end, everyone involved (mom, stepmom, dad and sister) are immune...so we are doing the trip, and avoiding any larger family gatherings.

And I am very happy and comfortable with this decision, as is everyone involved.
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#26 of 26 Old 12-24-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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Have a great time and please come back to let us know the outcome - whether everyone remains unscathed or if anybody shows signs of CP.

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