Saturday, August 13, 2005

Pox Parties   posted by TangoMan @ 8/13/2005 10:36:00 PM

Upon hearing the glorious news that little Susie's schoolmate is infected with pox some parents, taking their vaccine phobia a bit too far, hustle their kid out to the SUV and make a beeline to the pox-infected home so Susie can attend, and be infected at, a Pox Party.

The revival of this practice is gaining ground and proves the old adage that a little knowledge is dangerous. However, some parents are all ga-ga over this trend:

When she was 7 years old, San Francisco resident Eos de Feminis remembers, she attended an out-of-the-ordinary slumber party. "It was unusual, because we lived across the street from them, so we normally wouldn't spend the night," recalls de Feminis, 36. More notable was the fact that at least one of the kids at the party had broken out with itchy, red sores, and De Feminis was there to deliberately get infected, too. . .

"My memories of being sick as a child are actually quite pleasant," Volpe recalls. "I got to sleep in my parent's bed during the day and eat special food and get my forehead stroked." Not that the experience will necessarily be so painless for her 3-year-old daughter, she admits, acknowledging the discomfort and itchiness characteristic of chicken pox, though she adds, "Personally, I would love a reason to take a week off from work and stay home with my daughter."

Here's the medical warning against Pox Parties:

The belief out there is to have a chicken pox party to get it over with," says Dr Grenier. But parents rarely realize that their kids can get severe complications from the infection. The disease can also reactivate later in life in the form of shingles. Dr Grenier suggests you tell parents that chicken pox isn't a mild disease. According to her, in Canada there's an average of 5.8 deaths due to chicken pox every year. Chicken pox can cause serious inflammation that destroys joints and even encephalitis. The vaccine doesn't prevent all kids from catching it — about 90% of individuals are protected. Those that do contract it, however, suffer only minor symptoms. New research also points to evidence that the vaccine is a cost effective step in the right direction. A study published in the September issue of Pediatrics showed that since the vaccine was introduced in the US in 1995, the healthcare system has saved close to $100 million US due to fewer complications and hospitalizations.