Is it awful to deliberately expose a 5 mo. old to CP? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, here´s the deal:

We normally live in the US, but are currently in a country in Europe where they don´t vaccinate against CP. We return to the US in mid-January, so right now would be a golden opportunity for the kids to be exposed to CP. There is a lot of CP going around right now, and I could take them to someones house tomorrow if I wanted to.

This may be the only time that we are out of the country for an extended period of time, during the "chicken pox season." We live in New York State, which requires immunity for preschool and kindergarten.

I have a two-year old and a 5 month old. The 5 month old is really healthy (has never had as much as a sniffle), EBF, and big for his age--weighs 23 lbs.

I am having second thoughts because of him, though. He seems kind of young to deliberately expose to CP, and I would feel awful doing it. Still, I really, really, really don´t want them to have this vax.

What do you think? Would you do it?
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#2 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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What if your 2 yr. old would get it naturally as might be the case if we have not interfered via immunizations? Then your 5 mo. old would be exposed just the same.

If the 5 mo. old is being nursed, I doubt that he would get any symptoms anyway. He may have mild immunity for a while but may get cp again at some point.

I probably would go ahead and do it.
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#3 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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Heidi, are you in Switzerland?
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#4 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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I wouldn't think twice about doing it. Go for it!

A supportive military wife and mama to my busy boy and sweet girl.
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#5 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 11:04 AM
 
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5 months is pretty young, I'd just skip the vax and avoid the cp this year if possible. I'd lie and say she's had it or write an exemption letter to not get the vaccine. Occasionally a case of chicken pox can get pretty bad with infected pox and such, as was a case when DH had it as a child.
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#6 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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If you only had a 5mo, I'd delay the exposure. But since you also have an older child, I'd fo for it. I'd feel differently if your baby had any special medical needs or if you needed to use formula- but a healthy ebf 5mo is unlikely to even get sick if he's getting passive varicella immunities through your milk.

I also want to point out that NYS does have a religious exemption for vaccinations if you use school or daycare, and there's no vaccine information asked for homeschoolers. Getting chicken pox naturally *this month* isn't your only way to avoid this vaccine for your kids.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#7 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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I wouldn't be comfortable exposing a 5 month old deliberately to chicken pox. That is just too young for me.

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#8 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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Honestly it may not matter. Just because your 5 mth old is exposed doesn't mean he'll get it (I was exposed and taken to pox parties from age 6 months through 5 yrs. I finally caught it when I was 12, go figure!). If your older child gets it the younger one will be exposed anyway, so while I would delibertly push the younger one to exposure, I wouldn't shelter them either.
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#9 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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I had an opportunity to expose my now two year old dd when she was about that age... I ended up abstaining because it was too young to me. I decided that I really wanted to wait until she had some verbal skills to explain to me how she was feeling.

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#10 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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5 months would be too young for me. I'd be okay with my toddler getting it, but infants don't have the same immune system as older kids. Also, since you're travelling, I'd be concerned about what would happen if your baby did have a severe reaction - not that European hospitals aren't equipped to deal with it, but I'd be more comfortable if I were home, for sure.
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#11 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 10:35 PM
 
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Moving to H&H.
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#12 of 17 Old 12-17-2009, 03:16 AM
 
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I would, and did in your situation. Chicken pox was going around in our area and DD was almost 6 yo and I really wanted to expose her. At the time DS was only 5 months old (EBF and very healthy). I took them both to a pox party, but kept DS extra close to me the entire time. I didn't really want him to get cp, but knew if was a likely possiblity given the situation and was okay with my decision.

Turns out they both got it and began showing symptoms at the same time. DS had a very mild case and breezed through it. If I had to do it all over again I'd do the exact same thing. I don't know if he aquired immunity from his mild case, so I plan on exposing him again when the opportunity arises.
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#13 of 17 Old 12-17-2009, 03:19 AM
 
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I didn't do it deliberately, but my youngest was exposed at around 7 month. My older two kids got it, but he stayed asymptomatic. I'm guessing because of being EBF'd? I would not have exposed him, given the choice, because he was a former pretermer and got hit hard everytime he got sick.
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#14 of 17 Old 12-17-2009, 07:21 AM
 
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I would be more worried about the two year old, actually. Both my sons had chicken pox at two (we don't vaccinate against it here) and especially one of them got pretty sick, much sicker than my daughter who had it when she was seven. It is far better for them to get it when they are old enough to tell you how they feel and, not least, to understand that it will go away in a few days. I would wait until at least four.

The five month old might not get it anyway, especially if he is breastfed.
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#15 of 17 Old 12-17-2009, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitmum View Post
It is far better for them to get it when they are old enough to tell you how they feel and, not least, to understand that it will go away in a few days. I would wait until at least four.

The five month old might not get it anyway, especially if he is breastfed.
ITA. If I could wait, I would definitely wait until around that age. I hate the idea of them getting it so young, but I don´t want them to have the vaccine. The problem is that in the US a lot of states require immunity to chicken pox before the child starts preschool or school, so waiting is not really an option.

I´m from Norway too, and that´s actually where we are right now. DH is American, and we live in New York. If we´d been living in Norway, I wouldn´t have tried to expose them at all--just going to preschool and school would have been enough for them to get it naturally at some point.

That said, I decided not to do it this time. Maybe I should have, I don´t know. I guess I just feel like the baby is too young. Hopefully there will be other opportunities...we´ll be here over the next two summers and even though there is not typically a lot of chicken pox going around then, we might get "lucky." The plan is for DS1 to start preschool at age 4, so we have 18 months to get the pox. (Or to get out of it some other way.)
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#16 of 17 Old 12-17-2009, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I also want to point out that NYS does have a religious exemption for vaccinations if you use school or daycare, and there's no vaccine information asked for homeschoolers. Getting chicken pox naturally *this month* isn't your only way to avoid this vaccine for your kids.
This is probably not the thread to be asking more about this, but can you tell me a little more about the exemption? I´ve heard it´s all or nothing, right? We´ve got our kids on a Scandinavian vaccination schedule right now, and ideally we´d like to stick with that...so we selectively vax. We do about half the vaccines in the US program, so it´s not like we´re against all vaccines. We are opposed to the abortion-tainted ones, and am not thrilled about Hep B from a religious standpoint--but I guess those would qualify more as philosophical reasons rather than religious, right? Is there any way to file an exemption without actually lying? Do we have to swear to never do any more vaccines? (Could we do them while out of the country?)

Is there an area on this board with information about exemptions?
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#17 of 17 Old 12-17-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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Yes, the religious exemption is "all or nothing" in NYS, but you don't have to tell the school district about all the vaccines your child has. All of my kids were vaccinated, starting around 2yo, "fully caught up" in time for preschool, and then they got whatever else they needed for kindergarten. Then, new vaccine requirements for 6th graders came out, and I decided that I'd had enough, and that was one of many factors in deciding to pull DD2 out of school in 6th grade (DD1 is just old enough to avoid that requirement.)

When she was ready to return to school this year, I filed the religious exemptions for both of them (even though technically DD1 isn't "missing" any vaccines.) It was just simpler to provide the exemption for both girls, and then DD1 is protected against any new vaccine requirements they may make in the future. If they ever look into the dates of my kids' vaccines, they'll clearly see that it's been several years since any of us have been vaccinated.

If you want to selectively vaccinate and live in NYS, I'd suggest doing the religious exemption and getting any vaccines out of state (or country) so the school district can't trace them. Alternatively, check the actual NYS requirements. If your kids just happen to have all the vaccines "required" by NYS (what's required for the schools isn't quite as extensive as what pediatricians recomend) then you may not need to bother with exemptions at all.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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