One anti-vaccination mom got an unpleasant surprise when Child Protective Services knocked on her door.
They wanted to talk to her about a little something you’re probably familiar with: chicken pox parties.
The mom, part of a private Facebook group with 300 members whose shared interest is their stance against vaccination, had been hosting the pox parties when a rival Facebook group (no, really) reported her to the authorities in Texas, according to one of the group’s moderators.
If that rival group is to be believed, the mom in question was doing just a little more than hosting what sounds like the world’s least fun party to spread some chicken pox that she came by honestly. Apparently, the post that spurred them into action was this one, which we highly recommend reading on an empty stomach.
The most common defense for chicken pox parties appears to be twofold. The first is that they aren’t that bad, because chicken pox is a relatively harmless disease, and the second is that hey, our parents did it with us, and we’re all fine!
Neither argument is a particularly good one.
In regards to the relative harmlessness of chicken pox, the concern that pediatricians and health officials have isn’t that a bunch of kids will get chicken pox, it’s that a few kids could contract the serious and life-threatening conditions that occasionally tag along for the ride. Those can include encephalitis, pneumonia, and group A strep, which are decidedly scary and hugely sucktastic complications.
But even if they weren’t, the logic in “it’s not that bad of a bug” seems faulty at best. There’s another relatively innocuous, fairly common little virus that also causes little blisters on the skin, but if a mother wanted to host a herpes party for her kids, that would probably raise more than a few eyebrows.
Really, if you purposefully got your kids — or anyone, for that matter — sick with anything that wasn’t chicken pox, that would make you kind of a dick, so why is the pox any different?
Anti-vaccination proponents also regularly say that because we all survived our own childhood pox parties, there’s no reason to suddenly change it now, painting this generation of parents as “the first” to be uptight for not wanting to hold their kid out from school for a week or more as their skin breaks open in patches.
Presumably, these same people do not rub whiskey on their teething children’s gums or hold their toddlers on their lap while they drive out for a gallon of milk at the store. Presumably, they don’t do those things because they turned out to be monumentally bad ideas that, while survivable, are hardly the best parenting practices. Of course we’re the first generation to vaccinate against chicken pox: The vaccine only became available in the ’90s.
It’s really hard to believe that we’re having discussions about the cunning devilry of modern medicine in 2015, but alas, here we are. It’s true that we probably will never be able to convince everyone to vaccinate their kids and ditch the pox play dates, but maybe in the aftermath of this, we can convince them to refrain from posting online about what they do with their husband’s shingles juice.