This week’s Insanity: Invitation to a Chickenpox party


chickenpox partyOne manifestation of the rising tide of the non-scientific anti-vaccine movement has been the arrival of the pox party. The idea is that when somebody has a kid who has chickenpox they hold a party and invite all their friends around so that their kids can catch it and thus get it all over and done with early.

Let me replay that for you … there are parents out there we deliberately expose their young children to a potentially deadly infectious disease because they truly believe that it is the best approach and is far safer than a vaccination. That is quite frankly nuts because not only are vaccines safe, this “natural” alternative is not. Before the arrival of vaccines, there were about 100 to 150 deaths from chickenpox among children in the U.S. each and every single year.

But Chickenpox is harmless … right?

Wrong, it potentially introduces other things such encephalitis, chickenpox-associated pneumonia, and invasive group A strep, and you really really do not want to risk any of that … ever.

Hollie Singleton wants a Chickenpox party

I’m prompted to write today’s posting because a Brisbane mother, Hollie Singleton, has been attempting to hold a pox party and was advertising it. The party has been apparently cancelled now, but not because she received quite a lot of criticism (she did), but because the kid who was to infect all the others is no longer contagious – she still, despite all the evidence, thinks that a pox party is a good idea.

Dangerous ignorance

Ms Singleton might like to consider this story …

My daughter contracted chickenpox when she was 18 months old, back in the days before vaccination for varicella was offered.

She got sick. Very, very sick. High fevers. Painful pox covering her entire body, in her nose, her mouth, her every orifice. And then she got even sicker. A bright red rash began spreading all over her body. Quickly. I could see it spread before my eyes.

I rushed her to the hospital. They examined her. They — the medical professionals, those with actual qualifications — told me one of her pox had become infected. She had a staph and strep infection, what used to be known as Scarlett Fever. She was hours from death. She spent nine horrendous days in acute care.

We nearly lost her. My baby. We nearly lost her from chickenpox.

The bottom line is this, in a world of no vaccines kids died every year, and now they don’t. Remember, this entire concept is not simply about choosing to not have your kids vaccinated. Instead it takes it all to an entirely new level and involves a choice to deliberately expose a young child to a potentially deadly infectious disease, and that is quite frankly not just irresponsible, it is totally and completely batty.

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