A pox party is just as strange as it sounds. Many parents are concerned about giving their child unnecessary vaccinations because some have been linked to Autism. As with most concerns in parenthood, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your child. However, taking matters into your own hands might not be the best solution. When one child in a social group gets the chicken pox, all of his friends’ parents come over to spread the infection intentionally. While this seems like a strange form of torture at first, it actually makes sense because a child will get it at some point or another. The only way to create immunity is to introduce the infection as early as possible.

When our generation grew up, there was no chicken pox vaccination available. We went through our first few years of school waiting for the infection. When it finally hit, we dealt with the itchy bumps as best we could with oatmeal baths and ointment for a few days, but after that we were immune for life. Now that the vaccine is available, many parents feel as though the medical immunization is too risky, but at the same time they understand the importance of it as early as possible, which is why they attend pox parties. By attending a pox party with your child, you are taking his or her health into your own hands, which is extremely dangerous. Only professional physicians should take charge of anyone’s health, especially a child’s whose immune system is still growing strong. The whole point of a pox party is to share germs, so there’s no telling what other types of infections your child might get. Researchers suggest that a child is more likely to come home with encephalitis or hepatitis than chicken pox.

The bottom line is that you can’t control what your child catches at a pox party. Studies show that the chicken pox vaccine is safe, and the risks associated with it are far fewer than those associated with a pox party. Even if you decide not to give your child the pox vaccine, don’t intentionally bring the infection on yourself. Let it happen naturally, and talk with the pediatrician if it hasn’t happened by age ten. Some adults go through life never having had the infection, but the earlier you get it the better.

Source: Jason Parad: A Psychological Critique of the Public Health Response to Chicken Pox Parties. Society Volume 49 Issue 6 pp. 495-499 December 2012

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