To Quarantine or Share?

I was looking at a chicken pox scar on my right arm this past weekend, thinking about how my kids will likely never have to experience the joys of the pox. They have vaccines for that now. It got me thinking about that whole concept of Chicken Pox Parties. That’s when parents would deliberately get their healthy kids together with kids who had chicken pox, to expose their immune systems to promote immunity.

If you read my post Friday, you’d know my kindergartener with sick with Strep. (The doctor later called and said it might be Mono, as well.) I sent my daughter to school and my toddler to day care, in hopes of stopping the spread. (Love how kids who don’t normally want to share are all about coughing in their sibling’s faces when they are sick…) Now, after my chicken pox thoughts over the weekend, I’m wondering, how many parents purposely expose their kids to illness to “get it over with.”

Were you ever part of a Pox Party or have you exposed your kids to illness deliberately?

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27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erin
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:45:56

    I would never diliberately expose my kids to getting sick…especially when you think that once you have had pox, you now have the shingles virus inside you.. My son was never one to get sick until he stated school, but still has never had much than a cold, my twins on the other hand seem to be prone to bronchitis, and when they get sick and are miserable I feel so bad for them and would take their place if I could, I am totaly against exposing your kids to an illness on pourpose, it makes no sense to me at all

    Reply

  2. Liz
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:54:59

    It is 100% stupid to deliberately expose your children to a potentially deadly disease, especially when there is a safe and effective vaccine.

    Reply

  3. Deborah
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:28:55

    Agree with Liz, it’s cruel and abusive to children to INTENTIONALLY expose them and others to a virus. There are vaccines for chicken pox..my kids have all been vaccinated against the horrible pox virus, and I have never had it (was vaccinated myself).

    I also don’t appreciate mothers that send their kids to school with strep and other contagious nasties….being on dialysis, I have a low immune system. My kids can get those viruses and bring them home to me, making me so sick I have to be hospitalized. Please keep in mind that other people are affected by your sick kids going to school.

    Reply

    • Mom Land
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 15:55:24

      Deborah, schools are pretty on top of this stuff. At least mine is. They know when your kid is sick and they keep him/her away from the others. Good point about bringing the illness home.

      Reply

  4. Carolyn
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:32:02

    When my two children came down with chicken pox we made it a party! It helped that
    I had a home day care. Each parent was on
    board. We had assembly line ‘oatmeal baths’
    and each child helped the other with lotions
    and creams. Each parent helped supply the
    oatmeal and anything else needed to get
    thru the day! Including flowers for me.

    Reply

  5. Cindy
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:48:35

    Yes, Before there was a vaccine, My brothers and I were part of the measles, mumps and Chicken Pox parties. The reasoning back then was that the younger you were exposed to these ailments, the better off you were. It was believed that if you didn’t get the chicken pox by the time you were in your teen years it could be deadly. By the time I had children they had vaccines for the measles and the mumps, but not the Chicken Pox and my children didn’t get exposed until late in elementary school. The two youngest did fine, but the oldest who was about to enter Junior High ended up with them in his eyes, throat and nose and was very ill. Two of our family’s friends’ children wound up in the hospital – one in critical condition (he pulled through, but it was scary) and the other very very sick. So, were our parents right to expose us before the 60s – I believe so. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing that we should never take for granted, but understand that there are people out there that do not believe in vaccines of any sort and that could be dangerous in its own way to others especially the very young and the elderly.
    I have a scar on my right arm that was caused from the Small Pox vaccination, and am wondering if that is what your scar could be from. I have no scars from the Chicken Pox, but do hate the smell of Calamine Lotion which was used to keep us from scratching the measles and chicken pox bumps :) Have a great day!

    Reply

    • Mom Land
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 15:58:03

      Cindy, I only have a few scars from the pox – my arm, cheek and chest. I was a baby when I got it and had an internal case. They took a while to figure out what was wrong with me. Apparently, I only had a few external ones but I must have scratched them!

      Reply

  6. Jocelyn Amber Potts
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:12:10

    To the nay-sayers/pro-vacciners:
    The vaccine only protects against KNOWN strains of the virus. When I was 16, I had the chicken pox, as well as both of my sisters, 15 and 11. My 9 year old brother didn’t; all of us had the vaccine as children, the theory is that my brother had a more current version.

    If my kids have a friend in the future that manages to contract them, I will be all for a ‘Pox Party’, provided they aren’t already sick. They’ve had the vaccine, and cases where chicken pox was fatal were mostly adults, babies, and those with weakened immune systems.

    Reply

    • Mom Land
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 15:59:14

      Jocelyn, it is scary how extreme the pox can be. You never know if it will be eased by lotion or if it will debilitate your kiddo. Scary stuff.

      Reply

  7. Sophie
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:50:51

    Had I raised my daughter a decade or two ago I most definitely would have been a chicken pox party partaker. These days I’d prefer my daughter had the vaccine, and there are few things I can think of that I’d expose my daughter to. The only childhood virus my daughter has had to ride out thus far was RSV and there is no way I’d have intentionally exposed her or anyone else to this nasty bug. The only positive part of the whole ordeal is that she is now immune to it, but should a vaccine become widely available (the current vaccine is only used in high risk infants and not terribly effective) I would most definitely have all future children vaccinated.

    Reply

    • Mom Land
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 16:00:22

      Sophie, RSV, ugh. Yep, that is a nasty one. My youngest contracted that during his stay at the children’s hospital while fighting another illness. It is so hard on their little bodies!

      Reply

  8. Jenny Martinez
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:55:15

    Yep, that’s how I got chicken pox. My mom let us go play with the neighbor kids!

    Reply

  9. Deborah
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 20:12:35

    @Jocelyn Amber Potts, I think you might be thinking of a different vaccine that you and your siblings got when you were kids…chicken pox vaccines were first introduced in 1995, but weren’t widespread until 2000. Unless you’re a teenager, there’s no way you received the chicken pox vaccine when you were a kid.

    Reply

    • Jocelyn Amber Potts
      Apr 27, 2012 @ 14:43:32

      That is a possibility. I am only 23.
      Vaccination helps, but it isn’t bullet proof- I’m not completely satisfied knowing my kids aren’t completely protected by a shot, so if the chance arises, a small get together is much more ideal than the surprise.
      A person can also have the chicken pox more than once, if they are exposed to different strains.
      The plus side I can see? They’ll have someone they can still hang out with and be sick with, instead of being quarantined from friends and siblings for up to three or four weeks.

      Not trying to come off as knowing everything about it, but getting chicken pox at 16- during my summer break and also during the time of year with the most sun (Alaska)- I had plenty of downtime and internet know-how to research everything I could about it. It was one of those things I chose to “dwell” on because it ruined the better half of my summer.

      Reply

      • Mom Land
        Apr 27, 2012 @ 15:00:12

        Jocelyn, ugh! Summer chicken pox! My best friend’s son had surgery one summer and spent the entire time with a cast. That was no fun either.

  10. Marleen
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 20:16:12

    My older daughter almost died from complications from chicken pox. She was hopitalized for 10 days and endured a variety of grueling medical procedures. I would not recommend intentionally exposing your child to chicken pox. They may have a mild case, but they could also end up being one of the children who end up in the hospital or dying from the infection.

    Reply

  11. kalleyc
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 06:24:19

    I can understand why parents in the day had the parties, but these days, parents are more careful and cautious when it comes to illnesses. Personally, I wouldn’t purposely expose my child to a sick one just to get it over with. I’m glad that these days it can be avoided and children don’t have to though what we went through.

    Reply

    • Mom Land
      Apr 26, 2012 @ 13:55:55

      Kalley, I’m glad our kids can avoid a lot of the bugs of our day. By the way, loved your most recent post about gifts. Cracked me up. I think cash is tacky too.

      Reply

  12. Tara
    Apr 27, 2012 @ 13:50:40

    I got the chicken pox the last week of 1st grade. My best friend, thinking it was cool that I got out of school for the year earlier then our classmates, rubbed herself all over me hoping to catch the chicken pox and get to stay home from school also. And she caught them. The day after school got out for the summer. True story.

    Reply

  13. Zofia Jungck
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 20:43:45

    Chickenpox is most infectious from one to two days before the rash starts, until all the blisters have crusted over (usually five to six days after the start of the rash).If your child has chickenpox, try to keep them away from public areas to avoid contact with people who have not had it, especially people who are at risk of serious problems, such as newborn babies, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system (for example, people having cancer treatment or taking steroid tablets).,

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    Reply

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