Viruses and Viral Diseases: the Dangers of Chicken Pox Parties
Viruses and viral diseases in children can be combated in many different ways, but some parents have come up with a new and, according to medical professionals across the country, ultimately dangerous way to strengthen their kids’ immunity. Health officials across a number of states have recently observed an increase in the number of so-called “chicken pox parties,” where healthy kids are exposed to the chicken pox virus in an attempt to boost their immunity.
This is done either through exposing children to other children who have already been affected or through serving products, such as lollipops for example, which have been tainted with the virus. Many of these parties are organized through Facebook where there are a number of groups, such as “Find a Pox Party in your Area,” where parents can share details about these gatherings.
Health officials are particularly baffled by this trend because the vaccine against chicken pox is widely available and is very successful at both preventing kids from getting sick as well at making sure that they experience the disease in a mild form if they do get sick. Rafael Harpaz of the Center for Disease Control told The Atlantic that deliberately infecting kids is “an incredibly bad idea for a number of reasons.” He argues that the vaccine has significantly reduced the risk of death from chicken pox in the US and that at the same time infecting children who have not been vaccinated can be dangerous. In addition to that, by serving tainted products such as lollipops, parents run the risk of exposing their children to the body fluids of complete strangers especially if these products are delivered from remote sources. Lastly, parents should also not forget that both tampering with consumer products as well as sending viruses through the mail are illegal activities.
Health officials are encouraging parents to be more vigilant about this practice in their neighborhoods and to report any information they may have about chicken pox parties in their area. They are also encouraged to seek out the advice of their doctor in order to learn more about the virus and the pluses and minuses of having their kids vaccinated.