Chicken Pox Parties.

Updated on September 16, 2011
K.R. asks from Durant, OK
34 answers

i have a girlfriend who's little one (age 2) has chicken pox. and since i have declined the new vaccination for it i am considering exposing my daughter to it.
but i had kinda planned to do this when she was older, like, 6 or 7. (she is now 1 1/2) Is she too young? i kinda want to wait, but with the new vac being "mandatory" for school, i am thinking i will have limited chances for her to get it the old fashioned way.

I am not really interested in a vaccination debate, but i would like to hear from moms who's children either went to a pox party, or who's children had it when they were young.

i didnt want to get into this as a vac debate, but the vac does not provide a life long immunity. with out boosters you may catch it in adulthood. and the vac has lead to a rise in shingles.
Um, less than 20 years old, IS a new vaccine, in my book.

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answers from Norfolk on

Regarding pox parties:

"It is absolute lunacy," UCLA infectious disease specialist Peter Katona, MD, tells WebMD.

Adults who get chicken pox for the first time get a much more serious disease than do children. But even for children, chicken pox isn't a walk in the park. And every once in a while, a child gets a very serious form of the disease. One in 50,000 kids gets a brain infection that causes retardation or death. And itchy chicken pox blisters can get infected with dangerous bacteria.

"Imagine losing a child because you were dumb enough to bring him to a pox party," Gershon says.

18 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My personal opinion? I would get the vaccine! i wouldn't take my child to a Pox party - that's just insane in my opinion...

I realize that some people fear vaccinations but I don't get it - seriously...the quack who linked vaccinations to autism has been debunked sooo many times by his peers that it's laughable.

Just got get her the vaccine and be done with it. She'll need it in order to attend school. Unless you choose to homeschool.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You have to do what you think is best, but I don't believe in exposing children to diseases to avoid a vaccine. I would do a lot of research on chicken pox and the potential risk of getting it. I got it so bad I was almost hospitalized, had to make multiple trips to the doctor, couldn't get out of bed for 2 weeks and was in tremendous pain. I was 4 and remember it all. It's more than just itchy spots, it can have horrible consequences.

8 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

Not really trying to debate you but my kids, and all their friends had those shots. They didn't grow any extra arms or beaks for that matter.

I guess I am trying to figure out why you would put your daughter's life in danger by infecting her but a shot is dangerous.

You really should google it, I can't remember the date but last year a mom was brought up on child endangerment charges for going to one of those parties.

18 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I had chicken pox...and believe me that I remember how horrible it was to have them. I cannot imagine purposely exposing my children to something that will make them that miserable.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I think purposely making a child miserable and sick when there is a preventative measure is cruel. JMO.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think it's pretty sick to expose your kids on purpose to illness for any reason! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Chicken Pox is part of the herpes strain of viruses. By allowing your child to get Chicken Pox and not be vaccinated you are opening your child up to frequent cold sores and shingles. The herpes strain of viruses NEVER leaves the body but goes dormant for years at a time.
As an adult who was born just before the last Polio outbreak in 1955 I believe vaccines are a godsend.

** Oh another thought Chicken Pox is the most contagious 2 weeks BEFORE the child breaks out. So you may get your wish and have a sick miserble child, gook luck to you!!!**

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My older daughter (23) had it when she was almost 2. It was awful. She was miserable, feverish, sore, itchy and couldn't sleep for days. (You can't reason with a little kid like that so they don't scratch and dig at the pox. She picked and scratched whenever I turned my head.) She also wears the scars of those horrible pox she had on her face and back. It's crazy how deep those scars can go and how they mess up your face for life. My younger daughter (13) had the vax. I was against it before it became mandatory. My older daughter told me what an idiot I was for not getting the vax. She is the one who has to live with the scars from the virus. She wishes the vax would have been available when she was little too.

My advice is .... skip the party.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would agree that I think it is crazy to expose children on purpose to a disease that at best will make them miserably itchy (I had it in 4th grade and I still remember it) and at worst could have some serious complications, all to avoid a vaccine. I have also known children that got chicken pox at very young ages (i.e. 3 or younger) and did not develop adequate immunity to it - which meant they got it again when they got older. And as much as it's no fun to get it as a kid, it's way worse to get it as an adult.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

I love all the fear everyone is trying to spread. ;)
I would wait.
My memories of the chicken pox...being itchy, being covered w/ Calamine, and having a picnic complete w/ Nature Valley Granola Bars (which were not something we ate regularly) on the living room floor w/ my brothers, who also had the pox.

As for the shot being mandatory-I haven't researched your state-but I would bet there is an exemption form. After all, we are talking about one of the vaccines w/ aborted baby cell lines in it.

Oh and shingles is on the rise thanks to the CP vaccine:
No thanks! :)

Here ya' DD would say 'easy peasy':,_Prevention,_Preparednes...


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I had it before Kindergarten and I was nearly put in the hospital. I had sores in my eye area and all over my body. I had a high fever and since it was so high that is what they were worried about. So many people have died from Chicken Pox I would never let my child be exposed to it willingly.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Are you serious? If my parents had done that to me I probably would have never forgiven them! As it was, I got it in 2nd grade and to this day I remember how absolutely horrible and miserable it was. Very, very ill for an entire week, pox everywhere from my nether regions, face, scalp, fingers, toes -- entire body itched. The only ones I allowed myself to scratch were the ones on my scalp since scratching leaves scars. I joke to this day that should I ever become bald, I'll have the ugliest pock-scarred noggin that you've ever seen.

Please don't do that to your child.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

I would take her to your friend's house. I have tried to expose my children also, and even though they have been exposed a couple of times, they have never gotten them. It's hard to find people who have cp. One thing of note: the more exposure a child has to a person with cp, the more severe the case of cp will be. That's why the first child in a family to get them tend to have a milder case, but the siblings who get them from the first tend to have more severe cases. I would think that your daughter would have a more mild case than she would if she were exposed around the clock to the friend.
BTW, about Dr. Wakefield and the autism link, have you read this article? I just saw it yesterday.
Follow the money, follow the power.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I totally agree with you. My daughter had chicken pox when she was 2 years old. It was very mild (maybe 20 spots total). I was pregnant with my son at that time. Then when she was almost 5 years old she got another break out of it. It was worse, but still on the mild side. My son never got it. In CA, for my son to go to preschool, we just had to sign a waiver and we didn't have to think of it again. Now, that we are in VA where it is required I had his blood tested to see if he is immune to it. He's not. When we first moved here I was refered to a ped. from a friend and he was AWFUL! One of the worst doctors I have ever met. I was told that in no way, ever would they give me a waiver for him. I switched doctors to one who is more on the same page as me, and she is just amazing. I love her! She said she will give me a waiver, but they don't normally tell people about them unless they ask. If I knew of a friend around here who's kid has chicken pox, I would totally be knocking on their door just to get it over with.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Utica on

All I have to say is you have absolutely no idea whether or not your child will have a bad or even horrible reaction to the disease itself just like you dont know how she will react to the vaccine. I think its a horrible idea. As for the vaccine not being good for life, they are starting to offer and suggest a second dose of the vaccine when they are 4-5 to help boost their immunity and help prevent shingles and such
If you are having second thoughts I would Google 'Chicken pox parties' and see the stuff that pops up - Not good at all IMO

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

All my friends' kid's who had the vaccine, still got the chicken pox, and they got it horribly. I think I would wait until your child is older to expose him/her. Why get a vaccine that does not guarantee immunity, but has a whole list of side effects that could happen, when you could just get the disease naturally, build up the immune system and then be done with it? No shots needed. You get to skip the formaldahyde and the whole long list of nastiness. Sorry for the woman who called you horrible. Some people just can't handle adult conversations.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I had chicken pox when I was in first grade. I was miserable.

I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I still have the scars on my arms and legs from scratching.

I'm STILL upset about missing my FIRST Valentine's Day party at school. I still can remember opening my cards at home (on my bedroom floor) and eating the white frosted white cupcake they sent home for me. It had pink sprinkles and a cupid decoration. Nope, I'm not mentally scarred some 40 years later, nope, not at ALL!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

My oldest daughter got the chicken pox in Paris at 18 months. (and as far as I know she was vaccinated for it, because we didn't ask for her not to be) I was soooooo glad when she got it nonetheless (but not happy she had a worthless vaccine). She had a typical case. She was so young, it didnt' bother her much, she just hated getting washed with the soap because she hated baths at the time. Now I'm just bummed my other two probably won't get it with the silly vaccine situation back here. I've since done my research and did NOT vaccinate the second 2 for it. If I had a two year old near us with chicken pox, I'd have them over there (ages 3 and 2) in a heart beat! Our friend in Paris somehow made it to adulthood without Chicken pox (even though they don't vaccinate for it there) and he had to stay away from us, because it's much worse to get it as a teenager or adult, which CAN happen even if you vaccinate as a child. The younger they get it, the better.

When I was a kid, literally EVERYONE got the chicken pox. Literally. Everyone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I also got chicken pox in 1st grade and missed a week of school. It was horrible. I can remember scratching and scratching and taking oatmeal baths to try and relieve some of it. My sister got it when she was two and that was a week from hell for my mom. All of the stuff I had, plus two year old tantrums. Not fun.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would not purposely expose my child to anything.

You don't know what you don't know.

My daughter did get the vaccine shortly after it came out and when she was 10, she had a very light case of the pox and no other side effects.

Ultimately, it is your choice because it is your child but I don't see why anyone would purposely expose children to some childhood illness thinking it would be the right thing to do.

#1 what if your child did not get it, then it is possible your child can still expose others, including adults?

#2 what if your child gets it like you want her to then gets the secondary infections that sometimes happens and then you are looking at some possible long term health issues.

Whatever your do, weigh this out carefully in your head.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

why would you wait until she was older? then she would have to miss school and would be a whole lot more uncomfortable than she is now. my daughter had them at 10 months old. she was polk a dot from head to toe. miserab le for a couple days but we cut her nails really short and she was fine. my older two boys got them at 4 and 5. they were miserable and both missed almost 2 weeks of school / preschool. they had them on the bottoms of their feet, under their arms behind their knees in their privates and everywhere in between. it was pretty awful. my youngest was 2. I would go ahead an expose her but know that that does not mean she will get it lol. good luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Waaaay too young. The younger the child, or older the adult, the more dangerous it is. Also, at her age, it may be more difficult to explain to her she can't scratch at the sores.

For healthy children, chicken pox is usually more of a nuisance than a real threat. On rare occasions, though, even healthy children can develop serious complications from chicken pox, like a bacterial skin infection, pneumonia, or encephalitis, a swelling of the brain.

If your child has chicken pox, call the doctor if she seems sicker than expected, if she develops a fever after the first few days, if the rash spreads to her eyes, or if the skin around the pox becomes swollen, painful, or very red.

If your toddler has a weakened immune system from a chronic illness such as leukemia or from taking high-dose oral steroids (for asthma, for example), the infection can cause grave complications. Some special protective measures, such as an injection of varicella zoster immune globulin or the varicella vaccine, can only be useful shortly after exposure. If your toddler's immune system is compromised, call her doctor at the first sign of chicken pox — or even if she's only been exposed to someone who's sick.

from here:

Also, there is some misinformation in this thread. Shingles IS chicken pox in adults. SO people saying you can't get shingles if you don't get chicken pox is wrong. If you don't get chicken pox as a child, it is very likely you can get shingles as an adult.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on story is about LONG before the vaccinations came out.

When my daycare was licensed with 10 children plus my own two, I didn't have any help or family and I barely knew anyone other than daycare parents. I can't even remember who I used as my 2 emergancy contacts. My daughter that was almost 6 started Kindergartin and came home covered in chicken pox. I told all the parents that we either had to shut down or go through it. We all elected to go through it. It took 6 weeks for 14 children to get it. We were open 7/24 then too and had probably about 18 families between the two shifts. So it was most of the kids that got it and the incubation is 2 weeks. So if they didn't get it in the first 2 weeks it was the 4 week or 6 week time that they showed up with it.

It really was NOT that bad.

However.. The next year I had 2 new children and they had not had it. One of my boys that didn't get it the year before did get it. I told his mother when her oldest came down with it to keep them apart. Her oldest boy lived with dad and it was completely optional for her to get the two boys together. She decided to ignore my urgings and he did get it. Then I had to keep him out because of the two children that had not had it. It turns out that it got so bad that week that he was hospitalized.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

NOT a new vaccine. My 20 year old has had it (as had my 1 year old). Make sure you have the facts. Prevents a rise in shingles.

But as vaccines go, if you are totally opposed to vaccines, I guess this may be one of the less harmful ones to skip. I had chicken pox as a kid -- was not that bad!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I was about 3 when I had them (back in 1973) and I survived just fine. I have been around other kids since then and never got them again. I think your daughter may be a little young, but IMO it would be better to get the illness then the vaccine. I don't understand why people are so cruel in their responses, they should just not reply.
Also, my husband got CP in his late 30's and yes he was sick but not near death. He is also just fine now. When I was growing up kids got Chicken pox and measles and were just fine after. I think parents then were more aware of how to treat these illnesses at home and didn’t have such fears about it like they do now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

my son got the vaccine, but if you want to give it to her the natural way, i would wait a couple years. I got it when I was 5 and my brother was 4 we were miserable! I can't imagine having to go through that as a toddler. At 5 I understood I had chicken pox and it would go away. a 2 yr old might not understand.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I read a research paper that showed there is not necessarily "lifelong" immunity either way, although catching the pox leads to a longer immunity than vax. I don't remember the numbers, and the research paper is difficult to find. I'll keep looking and will post if I find it. (And, I caught the pox twice. Once as an infant and once when I was ten. I'm guessing it was pretty mild when I was an infant.)

The longer you wait (older your child), the worse it will be for them when/if they get it. If you're going to go this route, do it now. Also, once you expose your child, you should keep them out of the public for several weeks (until you know they did/didn't get it). Otherwise, you could be infecting someone else who may have a compromised immune system, and they could get seriously ill from it. This means no errands, no playground, no playgroups (other than the party participants or folks who know of the potential infection), etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

I would say she is too young right now.

Also, if she does get it the natural way at any age and she does't get it "bad enough" she can still get it again at any point in her life and if its older then there is alot more risks involved expectally if its while she would be pregnant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Here's what you could expect:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had them when I was 9 months so I don't remember them. Over a year is when I would expose. We've tried once so far, but no pox. My younger one picks his scabs like crazy so I'm torn about exposing because I don't want him to have scars. Just know that the older you are, the worse it can get. Also, I know people who have attempted exposure 3 or 4 times before their child got it. Of course, that doesn't mean that your child won't get it the first time.

One thing to know about the pox parties is that most people believe that sharing suckers will spread the virus, but my doctor (who is anti-vax) says that it is spreads by respiratory secretions, and just playing in close contact is good enough. Sharing suckers can spread other diseases anyway.

I thought Oklahoma didn't require any vaccines. Find out about exemptions in your state because you can get out of almost any of them by writing an exception letter.



answers from Peoria on

Once you get chicken pox, you won't need vaccine, you become immune but why in the world would you purposely expose your baby to such a horrible illness! This to me is lunacy. I got it in the 5th grade from a boy that sat in front of me. I didn't even come in contact w/him & still got it. Mom said it "floats in the air" & that's how I caught it. I was MISERABLE for weeks! itching like no tomorrow. I have a couple of pock marks/scars from the pox that will never go away b/c I scratched those couple of places somehow in my sleep I guess or wasn't aware I was scratching I dunno but they're there. Your baby could actually DIE from chicken pox being that young...did you not know this? You get a high fever in some cases which can endanger your baby. I had a fever. Chicken pox is related to herpes, she can also stand a chance of developing shingles later on too. I don't know if you are a fan of South Park but they actually had an episode on this very same thing. All the moms were feverishly trying HARD to expose their kids to chicken pox so they'll "go ahead & get it". You hafta get boosters w/any vaccine as a child anyway so what's so different about this vaccine? They didn't have it when I was a kid so I ended up catching it. I think she'll catch it eventually from somebody but don't do it on could actually endanger your young baby's life! But of course, you're in control & I'm sure you'll choose to do what you're gonna do. Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

As a parent I would want to wait a little bit longer. I remember being absolutely miserable having it as a child, and I was about 6 or 7. I would want to wait until I know my child would have the restraint to not scratch or pick at the blisters as well as be able to tell me how he/she feels.

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