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Pox Parties: Proven Immunization or Russian Roulette?

Affiliate Disclosure | in Everything Else | by | with 174 Comments

I might have asked about this before but you should do a post on chicken pox parties, risks of NOT having it as a child and the risk of shingles in later life if you have had chicken pox, etc….you get my drift! {I’ll admit that I’m not too hot on exposing my kiddos on purpose to anything but I’m willing to see some research!}

~ Whittney Hoyler

Wow Whitt, you really know how to ask a loaded question! Let’s jump in, shall we?

“Could You Slip These To Katie During Snack Time?”

I held out a box of raisins, smiling in a relaxed way that says:

“I know you don’t know me, but I’m a carefree mama. Just please don’t feed my kid high fructose corn syrup, because then I’ll go all hulk on you. Just kidding! I’m totally chill, really. We’re not weirdos that make our own play dough or anything.”

**cough**

As the purple box left my hand I exhaled, blissfully unaware that halfway through snack time one of the Sunday school helpers would absentmindedly throw them away, which in Katie’s mind is basically like torching Disney Land. She told me all about it on the way home, and of course I knew just what to say:

“You know what? Making new friends is hard, especially when your mojo gets thrown off by people who have shown up to love on you and accidentally hurt your feelings. So, you never have to go back. Instead, I’m going to pay little girls to come over and be your friend and play everything you want to. Okay princess?”

Yeah, I Gagged A Little Just Writing That

As parents, we know that setting up fake environments to help our kids avoid hard situations deprives them of the opportunity to figure things out. We’ve seen what happens to kids who head off to college unprepared and constantly in need of outside help to make it through the next hurdle, so as much as we’d like to intervene . . . we don’t. We step back and – within reason – let them discover the strength within.

Except When We Don’t

The thing about immune system development is that it works exactly like emotional development, and yet our culture handles it in the opposite way! Rather than let the body learn and adapt to challenges while providing support (good nutrition, sunshine, exercise), we try Clorox every known surface within a 10 mile radius. We are helicopter parenting our children’s bodies, and in doing so we are cheating them.

Here’s the deal: Kids were meant to eat dirt. Healthy kids get sick. And bacteria is good for you. In order for a healthy immune system to stay healthy it needs to curl up to with nice, warm petri dish of chicken pox every once in awhile. In fact, trying to eradicate this disease through mass vaccination has actually made the situation much more dangerous. More on that soon, but first the basics!

The Chicken Pox Vaccine Is A Solution In Search Of A Problem

The way Merck first marketed it’s chicken pox vaccine should tell us all we need to know:

“Cure for deadly childhood disease!”

No.

“Cure for almost deadly childhood disease!”

No.

“Cure for inconvenient childhood disease!”

Yes.

In 99.9% of cases childhood chicken pox is a very mild illness and, frankly, our parents weren’t afraid of it. So to get parents to bring their kids in for a shot Merck started marketing it as a way to keep from having to take time off work to take care of sick kids. Now that it’s less common, though, people are beginning to talk about how DANGEROUS it was. It’s simply not true.

In Fact, According To Mercks Own Manual . . .

“Children usually recover from chickenpox without problems. However, the infection may be severe or even fatal in adults and especially in people with an impaired immune system.”¹

In other words almost all deaths from chicken pox occur in severely immuno-compromised individuals such as leukemia patients, or when and antipyretic (fever reducer) such as aspirin is used to suppress the body’s natural immune function. Lowering a fever does nothing to reduce the viral load, but it has been associated with a serious illness called Reyes Syndrome which can affect the liver and the brain and cause death. (More on the benefits of a fever here).

So if parents want to organize Pox Parties, what’s the big deal? I mean, this is something doctors have long recommended (and some still do!), yet people are claiming that parents who seek to give their kids natural immunity are playing russian roulette with their child.

Really?

Let’s talk some numbers here. First of all, it “is estimated there were about 3.7 million cases of chickenpox annually in the U.S. before 1995, resulting in an average of 100 deaths (50 children and 50 adults, most of whom were immunocompromised).”² So that’s about a .0027% fatality rate.

On the flipside, “Between March 1995 and July 1998, the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) received 6,574 reports of health problems after chickenpox vaccination. That translates into 67.5 adverse events per 100,000 doses of vaccine or one in 1,481 vaccinations. About four percent of cases (about 1 in 33,000 doses) were serious including shock, encephalitis, thrombocytopenia (blood disorder) and 14 deaths.

The VAERS data has led to the addition of 17 adverse events to the manufacturer’s product label since the vaccine was licensed in 1995, including secondary bacterial infections (cellulitis), secondary transmission of vaccine virus infection to close contacts, transverse myelitis and Guillain Barre syndrome (brain disorders) and herpes zoster (shingles). There have been documented cases of transmission of vaccine virus from a vaccinated child to household contacts, including a pregnant woman.”(emphasis mine)3

Now here’s the thing: There are more adverse events, but the death rate drops with the vaccine until you factor in that increased vaccination rates are pushing a shingles outbreak in adults. According to a former Research Analyst with the Varicella Active Surveillance Project, “any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease.” 4

But I Feel Weird Intentionally Infecting My Child

I get that, I really do. The idea of taking my children somewhere with the intention of making them miserable is awful. But here’s the thing: Whether you go with the vaccine or a pox party you are intentionally infecting your child with a live virus. One is a stronger virus with the potential for lifetime immunity, the other has a bunch of additives you can’t pronounce and a low initial success rate that wears off after a few years. And there’s this, too:

The normal route of entry of chickenpox into a child’s body is through the mouth and nose– usually inhaling particles that an infected person has coughed. This means that the virus will come in contact with the mucous membranes and trigger the beginnings of an immune response. After this initial “alert” of the immune system, the virus travels to the lymphatic system, where additional body defenses are mustered. Finally, after the body has had adequate time to gear up, the virus gains access to the blood stream and major organs. But by this time, the immune system is mounting a full response (thanks to its being alerted early by the mucous membranes and lymphatic system) and will usually protect the major organs from damage from this virus.

Now compare this scenario to what happens when one’s first exposure to the virus is from a vaccine: The mucous membranes are bypassed. The lymphatic system is bypassed. The live virus gains immediate access to the bloodstream and major organs”5

So Why Not Just Skip Both??

Ahhh, that’s a great question! There are several reasons you want your kids to have natural immunity from the chicken pox.

Reason #1: Contracting chicken pox during the first trimester of pregnancy can cause birth defects, so it’s important that women be immune. If the mother had the illness as a child, she will pass on antibodies through the placenta during pregnancy and additional ones via breast milk after the birth. This protects the child until around weaning age when their immune system is functional enough to handle the illness. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that artificially gained immunity can be passed on in this way, which leaves children under 12 months extremely vulnerable.

Reason #2: Allowing children to contract natural chicken pox prevents death later on. According to this article, “After contracting and recovering from chickenpox (usually as a child), as you age, your natural immunity gets asymptomatically “boosted” by coming into contact with infected children, who are recovering from chickenpox. This natural “boosting” of natural immunity to the varicella (chickenpox) virus helps protect you from getting shingles later in life.” This means that as our children grow up, they need their children to contract chicken pox to boost their immunity and prevent shingles (which can be life-threatening). As we’ve already discussed, the chicken pox vaccine  is associated with an increased risk for shingles. Merck knows this, so they have introduced Zoster, an anti-shingle vaccine meant to counteract the effect of the chicken pox vaccine later in life. A vaccine to “fix” the problems with the previous vaccine with no long term studies on effectiveness? No, thank you!

(Note: And individual should only experience shingles once (if ever) as an adult. If it it becomes a chronic condition that indicates immune system dysfunction)

Reason #3: The vaccine has a relatively high rate of failure and wears off with time. According to Dr. Jane Seward, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, an outbreak of chickenpox at a New Hampshire day care center revealed a failure rate of about 60%. The outbreak in 23 children began with a child who had been vaccinated, contradicting the belief that such “breakthrough” cases are not contagious. The child, a 4-year-old, was confirmed not to have developed chickenpox infection from the vaccine, but probably developed it after exposure to a sibling with shingles.5

How long each vaccine lasts varies from person to person, so there can easily be a significant gap in immunity. These “breakthrough” cases and gaps leave open the real possibility that our children will contract the illness post-puberty, which leads to a higher risk for pregnancy related birth defects, other complications and death.

Also, because the chicken pox vaccine contains a live (but weakened) version of the chicken pox, recently vaccinated individuals often feel well enough to be out-and-about during the period they are “shedding” the virus. This means they can easily come into contact with babies and immuno-compromised individuals – those that “herd immunity” is theorized to protect. On the flipside, people who actually have chicken pox are at home resting for much (but not all) of the time that they’re contagious, thus reducing potential contact with vulnerable groups.

Does This Mean I Think Pox Parties Are For Everyone?

No, I really don’t. We’re a few generations into our culture’s fast food, antibiotic and antibacterial product obsessed lifestyle now, and kids are not as robust as they used to be. For some, a bout of the chicken pox seems to reset the immune system, like this case of a child whose eczema “virtually cleared” following infection. On the other hand, there are children for whom chicken pox would be the last straw. It’s a heartbreaking reality, but there it is.

I do everything possible to promote healthy immune function in my family. Since I do the shopping, that means we avoid the standard American diet (GMO grains and processed foods, refined sugar, factory farmed meat and dairy, etc.), eat plenty of immune-boosting, traditional foods (fermented/cultured veggies, cod liver oil, liver etc.) and get plenty of sunshine. We purify our water with a relatively inexpensive but effective filter, make our own non-toxic cleaning supplies and beauty products, and avoid pesticides and herbicides. We seek the help of qualified medical professionals who understand our view of health and support it, and say “no thank you” to antibiotics unless absolutely necessary (since switching to real food we have never found them to be needed).

I believe it was a mistake to try to sterilize childhood, and new research supports that idea. A recent study of Amish children in Indiana concluded that increased exposure to pathological agents created more effective immune systems and far fewer allergies. Amish children experience an allergy rate of only 7 %, while the general population studied had a rate of 44%. For that, and many other reasons, it is with great sincerity that I say:

Pass the pox, please.

Would you take your kid to a pox party? If so, now might be a good time to post this link so folks know you’re looking!

Photo credit: Auntie P, MariamPhil Shirley, Kindercapes Mar

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174 Responses to Pox Parties: Proven Immunization or Russian Roulette?

  1. Alison says:

    Oh btw mine had natural chicken pox bc they haven’t had that or any vaccine…both had about a dozen spots….

  2. Heather says:

    Looking for the pox? Search yahoo groups and google groups and join the groups for your area. Fall and winter ate the busiest months for pox.

  3. Cindy says:

    I had the pox in third grade, now 41, and my recent titer is through the roof. My daughter had a very bad case of pox at age 6 months old, now 21, still has scars and the doc said because she was so young she could have it a second time. She has not to this date. However my mother had the pox twice! My son has never had the pox and now at age 15 I am concerned. We homeschool and I guess kids at church, little league and boy scouts must have all had the vaccine because I don’t know of anyone getting it during his lifetime. We don’t believe in vaccines though so we will just wait and see. BTW he hardly ever gets sick except the occasional cold – and – both of my kids were encourage to go outside and get dirty!

  4. Laura N says:

    I would love to get this over with for my children, but my 36yo husband has never had it and I’m afraid he would get really sick! We are a no-vaccine family. I’m not sure what to do about this.

    • Heather says:

      You might want to have his titers checked, Laura. He could have had them and not know it (some kids never get bumps). According to this article, “It is also interesting to note that most 10 year-old children with no known history of chickenpox are actually immune.

      A study in Quebec, Canada, involving 2,000 fourth graders was done to determine the proportion of children who would need to be vaccinated in a “catch-up” program.

      Of the youngsters with negative or unknown chickenpox histories, 63 percent had antibodies against the virus, presumably from having had such a mild case that they didn’t even realize they had it. This isn’t terribly surprising given that healthy children occasionally have minimal symptoms (such as a low fever and headache), without manifestation of blisters, indistinguishable from a mild case of the flu.” http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/02/chicken-pox-vaccine-creates-shingles-epidemic.aspx

      • Patti says:

        Heather…I have four children and my oldest is almost 11. None of my children have ever had the chicken pox and we do no vaccines. It never crossed my mind to worry about it…should I?

        • Heather says:

          Hi Patti! I really don’t know what to say about this. On the one hand I think children who are raised on traditional diets that grow up and happen to get it as adults would most likely be fine. However, my concern is about daughters who grow up and don’t have immunity when they’re pregnant. Chances are they won’t get the pox, but because of the slight possibility that it could happen I am going to try to make sure Katie gets the pox. Even then it is not a guarantee, though. With more and more kids being vax’d our natural “boosters” are waning. I’ll probably recommend that she checks her titers when she gets married and thinks about having a baby. I guess what I”m saying is there is no clear cut answer to you your question, sorry!

          • Amy says:

            Thanks for such an informative article!! That would be my concern too — for my daughter for both chicken pox and rubella, as well. I hope I can find someone with pox during their childhood — they are 2 1/2 and 6 mths now. Thanks, again :)

  5. Tanya says:

    I didn’t read all the comments so someone might have already asked this, but it appears to me that your death rate will be much lower if you have the vaccine than if you have chicken pox? I understand the other adverse effects and the other reasons for not getting the vaccine, but that statistic might be why they are pushing the vaccine. Or am I reading it wrong?

  6. Evelyn Fridley Hemming via FB says:

    FYI….I somehow escaped chicken pox through my growing up years then had them as an adult at age 22. I was so miserable I wanted to die. Get it over with or vaccinate.

  7. Kris says:

    My 4 year old and 1 year old both had chicken pox recently. SULPHUR homeopathic tablets provided AMAZING relief from the itching and general discomfort. Far more effective than the oatmeal baths, or calamine lotion.

  8. Rachel says:

    My kids all got chicken pox within 2 months of moving to France (at the time they were 3, 2, and 8 months old). The 8 month old was still nursing so that’s a strike against the “protected until they’re weaned” argument, but they all pulled through just fine and I was happy that they had it as small kids.

    • Heather says:

      Possibly, but part of my argument is that people should gain natural immunity as children that gets “boosted” over time through repeated exposure. I had pox as a child but due to the vaccination rate I suspect my immunity could be fading :( So interesting that your littles got it after leaving the mostly vax’d U.S. – is the pox vaccine popular in France?

  9. Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist says:

    I had the opportunity once to do a pox party for my children and I declined. I would do so again.

  10. Kim says:

    My 18 yo had the pox when he was 18months old. After that, the vaccine came out and my next two kids were vaccinated (I didn’t know any different and for them, at the time, they were my foster kids(since adopted by me) and I wasn’t allowed to deny vaccinations anyway.) I’m pretty sure my daughter had them when she was 5 (she is one of the vaccinated ones) after she entered public school, not a major case but enough bumps to make me think that’s what was going on. My two birth sons (now 6 and 5) had the vaccination (again, didn’t know any different). I’d like for them to have the pox as it just seems surer than the vaccine (my pediatrician even said it wasn’t a “for sure” thing that they wouldn’t develop it anyway).

    Like everyone else, it seems close to impossible to find anyone who actually *has* it now to expose the boys to it. I had it myself as a child (around age 3). My husband had it as a child *and* as an adult when his children had it. A friend at church has now had shingles twice.

    So frustrating all the way around! If I knew what I know now, none of my kids would have had the vaccine. But you can’t undo what’s been done….

  11. Nina says:

    Yup, I exposed my son. It was winter when the first of our friends got it and no one could really get together for a party, but we did a playdate with 2 friends who had it. And then we shared the love with my niece and nephew! My son was 6 and he tolerated it very well. Dr. Lauren Feder (who has a great book called “The Parent’s Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations) also has a book on natural baby and child care. She went over 5 or 6 of the most common homeopathic remedies and what symptoms they are used for and I had those on hand after the exposure, as well as slippery elm, sage and oatmeal. I dusted slippery elm and sage on the sores and let my son decide when he wanted the baths (he picked 3 in one day and after 2 or 3 days he didn’t want any). It was helpful knowing when he was exposed because I had decided what I wanted to treat him with (or what I was most likely to treat him with……illnesses don’t always respond the way we want them to!) and then I had it all on hand since the incubation period is several weeks before the disease appears. And then you can more easily notice little changes that he/she is getting sick and be more likely to keep the child at home so he/she doesn’t transmit the disease during the early contagion period before the pox show up.

  12. Dave, RN says:

    We did a pox party. This was back in the mid/late 90’s. Vaccinations wear off and you DON’T want chickin po as an adult!

  13. Dusty says:

    When do they usually get the booster?

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  15. Virginia says:

    If anyone in New England area has a pox party, count my kids in in PLEASE! Seriously, e-mail me!! would love a pox pop from someone far away LOL! I can’t believe I have to drive down the street and see multiple lawn signs by our local drugstore saying “get your shingles vaccine HERE.” RIDICULOUS!

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  17. Tara McGinnis says:

    any suggestions on how to find other kids to expose mine to?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Tara! Heather shared a tip you might find helpful “Looking for the pox? Search yahoo groups and google groups and join the groups for your area. Fall and winter ate the busiest months for pox.”

  18. Summer is the perfect time for (pox) parties! - Real Houston Housewife says:

    […] sure I believe myself anymore. I came across this awesome post from The Mommypotamus this morning: Pox Parties: Proven Immunization or Russian Roulette? I have heard about Pox Parties, but never really considered it before reading this! It all makes […]

  19. Lydia says:

    Is there a difference in getting the chicken pox from someone with chicken pox and getting them from an adult with shingles?

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  21. Emily says:

    What an interesting discussion…. I am one of nine children and we all had regular chicken pox as young children. My father is a pediatric ER doctor and has done thousands of hours of research on this and other vaccine related topics. He does not believe in the varicella vaccine or the flu vaccine. So I jut follow his advice on these issues. He truly believes in the efficacy of other vaccines though. All nine of us were fully vaccinated as children an my toddler is fully vaccinated. I like this blog and I think the research is quite thorough but most of the people reading it do not have a remembrance on the horrors of polio, measles, meningitis, and other life threatening diseases. I in fact have a real problem with the fact that in our church about half of the toddler are completely unvaccinated. We had a lovely rotavirusnoutbreak among the unvaccinated children. I will not put my child or any of my future babies in there because if there ever was an outbreak of something really serious, it would spread like wildfire.

  22. Chelsea says:

    How can we create a place or site or page for ppl to share if their kids have it so we can spread it? I really would like my children to have it but it just seems so rare now

  23. Megan says:

    Thanks for posting this…I have doing a lot of research on vaccines lately as we are expecting our first baby and trying to figure out what to do about vaccines. Do you think this concept applies to other childhood illnesses for which children are typically immunized against?

  24. Lan says:

    This question has always been weighing on my mind. I am completely against the chicken pox vaccine. I would be thrilled (well, make it “try to be thrilled”) if my daughter is exposed naturally. However, I’m not so sure about intentionally expose her. The reason lies in Reason #2 you listed above. The situation you described was more true in the past than now, when many (if not most, here in North America) children are vaccinated against chicken pox, which means no natural boosters for adults who have had chicken pox earlier in their lives, which, in turn, seems to me to mean more risk of shingles later in life.
    Given that, I’m not sure why I should not skip both the vaccine and the pox parties for my little girl.

  25. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering says:

    I’m glad I never had to contemplate pox parties. Our 8-month old daughter got the chicken pox first (don’t know where from) and then our 2 1/2 year old contracted it from her. I was happy to get it over with young. Honestly, I think it bothered them less than the flu or an extended cold would. They had a fever for a very short time and the itchy bumps lasted for about a week. They played normally the whole time, so it wasn’t as hard of an experience as I would have imagined.

  26. Caroline M. says:

    How would I even go about finding a pox party???

  27. Emily says:

    Here is my question. Many of you say vaccines are ineffective. But then you say you want to bring your child to a pox party but can’t find kids with chicken pox anymore. If vaccines don’t work then shouldn’t you be able to find a bunch of kids with chicken pox?

    • Lan says:

      I personally opt out of this particular vaccine because I think the benefits, if any, do not outweigh the risks, since chicken pox is usually not a serious illness. Not because the particular vaccine is ineffective.
      On second thought, for me it’s the case with most other vaccines too. So what if vaccines ARE effective? Do I want to prevent those diseases at THOSE costs (e.g. all the toxins and potentially harmful stuff in them, the risks of irreversible reactions, etc.)?
      Also, I believe many people say (many) vaccines are ineffective because EVEN IF they do prevent the diseases in the short term, they don’t confer lifetime immunity (like contracting the diseases naturally) and you would have to keep getting boosters (and all the yucky stuff that goes with them).
      Just my thoughts.

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  29. Kimberly couey says:

    So I cringe and just want to curl up and cry knowing I have my daughter this vaccine.
    It was honestly before I even questioned the typical vaccine practices.
    What can/should I do knowing my daughter has been vaccinated?

  30. Michele H says:

    My 5 yr old son was fully vaccinated until age two, when I learned better about vaccines. He did have the Varicella vaccine but he will not be having any further doses of it (CDC recommends between 4-6) or any vaccines. Could he benefit from a pox party? I would rather he catch it now and get lifetime immunity as a child than catch it as an adult. Thoughts?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Michele! Since I am not a medical professional I am unable to give opinions regarding specific situations. I can recommend the doctor I would consult, though! Dr. Thomas Cowan sits on the board of the Weston A. Price Foundation – his website is http://fourfoldhealing.com/

  31. Vanessa - Natural Family Today says:

    Thanks so much for this information! I agree 100%. I have had doctors try to scare me into getting my kids vaccinated by saying how dangerous chicken pox are. Silly! I remember having them as a kid. My sister had them twice. It was not bad at all. Everyone had it as a kid when I was young, and nobody had complications.

  32. Penny says:

    My mom and me had chicken pox at the same time, my sister shortly after we got it. My mom never had the pox as a kid, and in her late 20s when she finally had the pox, she was severely ill for longer than both of her kids, and years after the fact, she has let it slip, that she lost a pregnancy then. Especially with the tie-in with risks to unborn children, and shingles (a disease I had never heard of until I moved stateside from Europe) for vaccinated patients, I’m more determined than ever to tolerate the pox in my kids. I understand vaccinations against viral infections like polio, whopping cough and smallpox, but if it isn’t life-threatening, or not quite that common, and doesn’t carry a major risk of permanent disability, me suffering a little inconvenience to obtain long term immunity for my child makes more sense to me.

    This phenomenon was evident when I contracted H1N1 before vaccines were available for the virus. I had no flu or cold for 2 years (!) after suffering through the feared Swine Flu, neither did a couple of friends who had caught the same bug. Vaccinated colleagues and friends caught every consecutive wave of respiratory infections, each worse than the other. Somehow, being really sick for 4 days (plus an additional 2 weeks quarantine, boy were they paranoid when it was a “new” disease) was better for me than getting vaccinated and feeling a little wobbly for a couple of weeks. I do take vaccination boosters, but I try to approach the regime with common sense, and some restraint.

    The blog post struck a chord with me more than I thought. My kids may have a higher risk for complications with chicken pox vaccinations, as I have congenital thrombocytopenia, or the blood disorder mentioned as a vaccination side-effect, and I thought I’d share some experiences, that the disease comes with.

    Essentially it means, that my blood platelet count is low, and slows or outright prevents clotting. The problem was known from when I was a baby on, as I had frequent, severe nosebleeds (I have one tonsil left, as they couldn’t finish my tonsillectomy due to excessive bleeding. They didn’t really believe my mom about my bleeding problems in the 80s in an European hospital), and once my periods started, my periods lasted 9-10 days in stead of the “average” of 4-5. First being on the pill, and later an IUD helped the periods, but I had other complications, so I can’t be on any hormonal treatment that would decrease bleeding – an IUD was the only FDA approved treatment for heavy menses last time I saw an infomercial for them.

    I can keep my bleeding issues in check with my diet these days. Turns out my diet of no red meat was hurting my blood. Adding a burger night on the weekends and changing out what types of fat we eat decreased my need for medication to the point where I take a multivitamin per day, in stead of a small fistful of pills per meal. I still need medication prior to surgery, or after trauma, but at least I can live without pills in my daily routine. Because of my bleeding issues, I will most likely be deemed a high risk pregnancy, so for liability reasons for medical providers, I suspect I have to deliver in a hospital with capacity to deal with complications.

    My clotting issues are exacerbated by my blood type and it renders me in effect “allergic” to NSAIDs, and as a shocker, in June last year, I found out my last “safe” OTC pain relief, acetaminophen, specifically causes blood platelet counts to drop even further, a few days after exposure. In effect, finding that out explained the variation in my blood tests between visits to the doctor, depending on whether or not I had had a headache that required pills.

    I can live with this, but it makes life complicated in small, annoying ways. They’re still on the fence on whether or not I have an underlying autoimmune issue or not.

    I’m not trying to sway anyone for or against vaccines, I just know that one of the potential side effects is a bloody mess, and annoying to deal with, compared to some pock marks and a few weeks of your life spent tending to a sick kid. Ultimately, it’s a parent’s choice, but I prefer the lower risk for lifetime complications.

  33. Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots says:

    I don’t know if I would do a pox party or not. Neither of my kids have had chicken pox yet, but the older one is immunized and the younger one isn’t. I’ve have to think on this… Thanks for such a thought-provoking post!

  34. Celeste says:

    I went to school with the chicken pox. I did not want to miss school so I did not tell my mama about the rash on the bottom of my foot. One week later most kids in my class was out with the pox.

  35. eva says:

    maybe not a party but i am looking for it. my neighbor had them, but my oldest was less than a year old and they say it doesnt work then.
    the nurses giving vaccines (i don’t know what that place is called in english) said that i won’t anyone, and that nowadays there are complications, and even that one girl got a flesh-eating bug into one of the scabs. which could happen in any scab, no?

  36. Mikayla says:

    I’m wondering why you’ve listed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) as a brain disorder. GBS is a case where the body’s white blood cells attack the myelin sheath of the nerves (and sometimes the nerve underneath itself is damaged.) It is triggered by a variety of things, including viruses, and the body apparently confuses the cells of the nerve coatings with the problematic cells. It’s the body’s immune system gone rogue. It’s kinda like an acute type of immuno-demyelinating neuropathy.

    GBS risk is heightened by having the smallpox vaccine twice, too. You can also get it from regular viruses naturally transmitted. Another risk factor is gut-related, such as food poisoning, it seems. Basically, viral or bacterial infections are the known triggers. Transverse Myelitis is associated with the chickenpox vaccine, but it is also associated with the varicella zoster virus in general, herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr, influenza, echovirus, HIV, hepatitis A, and rubella. Bacterial skin infections, middle-ear infections and bacterial pneumonia have also been associated with the condition. It is also associated as a complication of syphilis, measles, Lyme disease. So yes, you are increasing your child’s risk of transverse myelitis by giving the chickenpox vaccine, but your child can also get it from naturally contracted chickenpox, or even just “cold sores” (herpes simplex). If you wanted to minimize the risk of your child getting a paralyzing auto-immune/neuropathic disorder, you’d want to avoid exposing them to varicella – whether through vaccinations or pox parties.

    While GBS is studied in neurology departments, calling it a brain disorder doesn’t effectively indicate its physical effects for a lay audience. It’s being cooperatively studied in neurology, virology and immunology departments. Both GBS and transverse myelitis are better described in terms of their effects: physical weakness that may never fully recover, and temporary paralysis. They don’t affect the patient’s brain functions, or cause any mental confusion etc.

  37. eska says:

    Has anyone heard of a pox party in Mass lately? We are trying to find one. thanks eska

  38. Is a Chicken Pox Party a Dumb Idea? - Holistic Squid says:

    […] is packed with a bunch of toxic additives that can actually cause more harm than good. According to this article, the rate injury from vaccines is actually higher that the pre-vaccine fatality rate from the […]

  39. cia says:

    My daughter caught the chickenpox from me when I had a line of shingles on my arm. It’s the same virus, and a lot of people now have shingles.

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