Monday, February 08, 2010

Cross your fingers!

We're trying to catch chicken pox.

Yes, really. Gabe and I chose not to give our children the varicella vaccine. We had concerns about how protected the kids would be when they were older - there are no long term studies for this vaccine, and the best information (that we could find) currently suggests that the vaccine is only good for about ten years. There is a booster shot, but again, we don't know the long term results. Best case, everyone would be fine. Worst case, the vaccine would wear off and the kids would be at risk for chicken pox and/or shingles when they're adults, when it is much more dangerous.

So when we heard that a friend of ours had actually managed to catch chicken pox (harder to do now that many kids get the vaccine) we picked him up for a play date. :)

He's nearing the end of the contagious period, so we're not sure that the kids will catch it. But they might. And we hope that they do. Because then they'll have a week of itchiness, followed by a lifetime of protection.

Wish us luck. :)


Ma Torg said...

Good luck! All 3 of ours managed to catch it without even trying before they were 2 years old (Mary had it at 9 months!). I guess that is the one advantage of living in international grad student communities. (:

Anonymous said...

Hate to burst part of your bubble, but even if you have chickenpox, you're still a candidate for shingles later in life. Why do I know this? A) I know of two people close to me to whom this has happened, and B) my child insisted that I read her all the brochures about shingles (twice) while the pharmacist researched our insurance coverage. She concluded that she did not want to touch the picture of shingles b/c it was an owie. --CI

Sara in Seattle said...

Hubby right now is suffering from shingles, and he had chicken pox as a youngster. Getting chicken pox is only going to prevent your kiddos from getting chicken pox later, but won't prevent them from getting shingles.

Christopher said...

Well, pass over those last two pessimists... I'm pretty sure that they will have a much smaller chance of getting shingles in the future if they get it at all! Good luck Emily! Love ya'll!

Dy said...

Actually, unless they've changed the vaccine, it is a live virus, and yes, the very same virus that causes shingles. The vaccine leaves you susceptible to shingles, whether or not you ever have chicken pox.

Plus, the vaccine does not guarantee a child won't get chicken pox, only that a child will likely get a mild case of them. This leads to repeat cases, because the body does not develop the natural immunity derived from having a normally run case of chicken pox.

And a very little leg work shows that 100% of the deaths listed by the vaccine manufacturers as resulting from "chicken pox" are, in fact, from secondary infections, and not from the actual virus. (One might think repeated outbreaks would possibly make one a bit more vulnerable to secondary infections, no?)

So, there is some merit to holding off on the vaccine, depending on one's perspective.