Back in the day before the chicken pox vaccine was introduced, I got them twice. It wasn’t fun or anything close to a party, although you’d hear stories about parents who would throw chicken pox parties to build immunity to the virus.
We never knew any families personally who did this, and once the vaccine came out in the 1990s, it seems like whispers of such parties disappeared. Until now. It’s recently come out that some Colorado parents have been organizing chicken pox meetups on Facebook in place of getting the vaccine.
The most popular method seems to be “tenting”, where a group of children are exposed to an infected child in a small, enclosed area. A blanket or other covering is used to create a fort, and the sick kid is exhaling their contagious air for 30 minutes in this space.
Some parents prefer this as a natural way to build immunity against chicken pox, but doctors are concerned that this practice may result in complications. While the disease is typically mild for most children, there is always a percentage who may be at risk for the worst-case scenario. There’s no way to tell.
Denver’s 9 News obtained this screenshot from one of the group’s posts:
For the kids who do suffer from side effects or complications, they include pneumonia, sepsis, bacterial infections, or encephalitis. Doctors caution against using chicken pox parties to prevent outbreaks and to mitigate the chances of a child – or someone with a suppressed immune system – from having a serious outcome.
Learn more by clicking on the video from 9 News below.
Did you ever attend a chicken pox party as a kid? Your thoughts on the practice?