According to WSMV-TV, a Nashville, Tennessee mom was selling lollipops contaminated with her kids’ chicken pox-laced saliva via social media networks, for $50 a pop. Can you say creepy? We wouldn’t put a used lollipop in our mouths, even if we DID know exactly where it came from. But gross-out factor aside, her “chicken pox lollipops” (or the more common “chicken pox parties”) also aren’t that safe. In fact, they could be a good way to increase your child’s risk of contracting hepatitis.
The idea behind her “chicken pox lollipops” (or the more common “chicken pox parties”) is that exposing kids to chicken pox while they’re young is a safer, more effective way to grant their kids immunity than by getting an official vaccine. (Chicken pox, like many diseases, carries less risk of complication if contracted at a young age.) And so many parents subscribe to the idea that several Facebook groups have sprung up to help people meet up and spread the disease. According to Medical News Today:
One of the Facebook pages called “Find A Pox Party In Your Area” was found to be a place where parents can purchase viruses. By making a ‘charitable donation’ they can buy contaminated saliva, often carried on sweets or other goodies children like, or washcloths and Q-tips. On that web page you can also trade and sell such stuff.
But doctors and officials say that this is a beyond-retro way of approaching public health concerns, equating it to “Middle Ages Vaccination.” Dr. Anne Moscona, a flu specialist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, told the New York Times (in regards to similar “swine flu parties” that were happening when the swine flu first came out):
I think it’s totally nuts. I can’t believe people are really thinking of doing it. I understand the thinking, but I just fear we don’t know enough about how this virus would react in every individual. This is like the Middle Ages, when people deliberately infected themselves with smallpox. It’s vigilante vaccination – you know, taking immunity into your own hands.
We’d have to agree. While it might seem like a more “natural” way to immunize than getting a vaccine, developing a “black market” of pox-infested treats sounds like a sure way to spread other diseases (not to mention, waste your money on fraudulent pops).
Photo: Charlotte Fresco