So a parent hears that another parent's toddler is sick with something like chicken pox. Then they throw a party or some gathering where the kids will play and hopefully swap germs and get each other infected.

The hope is that the healthy kids will get sick themselves and when they fight off the illness, will have built up their own immune system without having to go through the vaccination for that particular disease.

But what are the protocols, rules or customs to follow with something like this? If any?

asked 14 Sep '09, 16:01

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Emu
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I'm not sure that a chicken pox party is a safe method. Children are actually immunized for chicken pox now. I would definately check with either your family doctor or pediatrician before doing this. The recommendation to immunize children over 12 months of age who have not had chicken pox came in 2002.

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answered 14 Sep '09, 18:18

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Probably has been something that's not really done any more. Something well on the way out. But then there will always be some parents who see vaccinations and immunisations just as, if not more, risky/dangerous.

(16 Sep '09, 12:55) Emu

Since not all users are in the US it is worth pointing out that chicken pox vaccinations are not routine in the whole world. For example, in the UK.

(09 Nov '09, 18:54) Meg Stephenson

Regardless of whether its right or wrong, you asked what happens at a chicken pox party and its really quite simple. The kids are encouraged to play together, share drinking cups, swap lollipops and candies and things to share saliva. The way it is spread is through saliva and nasal mucus so coughing, sneezing or sharing saliva are how it is transmitted.

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answered 01 Oct '09, 04:20

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Great advice from the other answers, but this cut right to it.

(05 Oct '09, 01:25) Emu

This is never a good idea. While most children don't suffer any ill effects from chicken pox, it actually can be very dangerous for some children. They can become deathly ill. Not to mention that exposure to chicken pox can lead to very painful shingles later in life.

If a child is not vacinnated against chicken pox, the best thing to do would be to have them avoid an infected person. If they come down with it anyway, it's one thing, but to purposefully infect them is just dangerous.

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answered 18 Sep '09, 21:40

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No, it doesn't sound like a good idea in the scheme of things. But, having heard about it, but not sure what it was, was interested in what would happen or be expected to happen at such a party.

(06 Oct '09, 09:29) Emu

I don't have more to add other than opinion, which I'll forgo, but the Wikipedia article on Chicken pox vaccine includes information about Pox parties, the introduction of and controversy over the vaccine itself, and statistics about chicken pox itself.

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answered 05 Oct '09, 21:49

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I have heard of these parties in the past but agree with Sylvie that they are probably not a safe method. I'm not sure about other areas, but in Ontario the chicken pox vaccination is considered optional, and there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding it.

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answered 16 Sep '09, 12:27

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Chicken pox can be dangerous, to children (though most come out just fine, like those of us who got it as kids in the days before the vaccine) as well as to adults who never had it.

Ask your pediatrician for stories about kids who have been hospitalized with chicken pox. It's not worth doing that to a kid because of some completely unsubstantiated notion that the vaccine is better avoided than the disease.

For the sake of people who can't be immunized, such as children too young to have had the vaccine, and people with compromised immune systems, please please do not intentionally spread infectious diseases through your community.

EDIT : Here's a reference from Health Canada regarding potential complications of chicken pox to back up your statement

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answered 01 Oct '09, 05:56

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edited 06 Oct '09, 02:42

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Asked: 14 Sep '09, 16:01

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Last updated: 19 Feb '12, 16:17