Chicken Pox Party: Good Idea or Too Risky?

A pox party defined by Wikipedia:  “pox party is a party held by parents for the purpose of infecting their children with childhood diseases, most commonly chickenpox, thus acquiring some immunity to the disease.[1] According to the Washington Post, parents who expose their children to the virus in this manner believe that this method is “safer and more effective than using vaccines.”[2] 

Other interesting articles on a Chickenpox Party: 

In my understanding, a chicken pox party is a way for your child to get the chicken pox naturally instead of getting the vaccine. Of course, getting the vaccine isn’t a guarantee that your child won’t get chicken pox either. Side effects from the vaccine can occur, as side effects from getting pox can as well.

I believe I had chicken pox when I was around age 5. 
I have a couple friends right now who are purposely giving their kids chicken pox. I think (don’t mark my word on this- I’m allowed to change my mind) when our boys get a little older, we might go the “party” route.  However, I don’t feel like I know enough information yet to make that decision. Seems weird to give your kids chicken pox on purpose, doesn’t it? But, does it make the most sense? Is it better than a vaccine?  Are the risk factors higher? What is safer? So many questions, and of course every person is different and there are so many different scenarios. 
What do you think about all this? A Chicken Pox Party : Smart or Stupid? 

And most importantly, WHY? 

What are you doing for your kids and what made you make that decision? 

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

14 thoughts on “Chicken Pox Party: Good Idea or Too Risky?

  1. I decided to expose my kids to the chicken pox so they could acquire the immunity naturally. My reasons for doing this go beyond my dislike of standard vaccinations and their side effects and onto a much more significant level.

    My first son was vaxed mostly on schedule until he received the MMR at 15 months old. He had a very bad reaction to it and we noticed a marked difference in his speech at that point. We then found out, a few months later, he had lost some of his hearing. Our pediatrician is fairly certain the MMR caused it as it is a known side effect if the vaccine.

    From then on I was was very leery of all vaccines and began researching all of them. I learned about their ingredients and their side effects so I could carefully choose which I would give my children. The one above all other that stood out as a “NEVER” was the pox vax.

    The chicken pox vaccine has only been available in the US since 1995 and as of now they only have an 11 year effectiveness rate. There are major doubts that it will carry on protection into adulthood which means children who relieve the vaccine will need to have boosters every ten years. Honestly, how many adults remember to get boosters? When was the last time someone thought “Hmmm, it's been 10 years since my last TB booster, I getter get on that!” it's more like “OH CRAP! I just stepped on a rusty nail, better get in for a TB shot! Who knows when my last one was!”

    Getting the chicken pox as an adult has many more dangerous (and deadly!) complications than as a child. One of these devastating complications can be complete hearing loss. So, as a parent of a hard of hearing child, I wanted to prevent this. I chose to expose him while he was young and incredibly healthy.

    I talked to our pediatrician, our naturopathic internist and our audiologist. All were on board with my decision because I was well educated on my decision and I had a plan of action for care.

    By exposing them, I am protecting my children's long term health and immunity by allowing them to fight off a mild disease. Which, I should add, they are doing fabulously 🙂

  2. I would definitely go the party route for my kids. I just don't see the need for the vax, let kids get it naturally and then be done with it. We are not getting our kids that particular vax–we get all but the pox and Hepatitis shots. I'm not against vaccines at all, I think they're important, but I also think some of them are unneccesary and are more out there to make the drug company money.

  3. So, admittedly I have NOT done much research on this, but I have discussed it with 2 different pediatricians.

    We do not do the Chicken Pox vaccination. We also will not send Luke or #2 to a Pox Party.

    My husband and I are BOTH not immune to the Pox. I had them 3 times in my childhood and he had them twice. He has also had shingles twice as an adult.

    We are afraid of the boys being not immune as well, and so will AVOID any circumstances that would possibly result in them getting the pox.

    We plan to homeschool and don't do day-care or nursery, so their exposure to children who MIGHT have chicken pox should be limited.

  4. It is disappointing to me that parents would purposely expose their children to disease. I do not think pox parties are a good idea and would never expose my children to them. And I do vaccinate for the protective immunity.

  5. I wouldn't do it- why make my kids sick when there is always the chance of serious side effects. If they are going to get it then they'll get it at the 'right' time for them. I've learned through my life that things don't happen on 'my' schedule.

  6. Yes, we are already planning on our pox party. I have a couple friends in our neighborhood and as soon as their kids get it (our ours first whoever) then we will be going over.

  7. Here in the UK kids don't receive routine vaccinations against chickenpox, and it is a very common childhood illness. Little Moo actually caught it back in March (at 21 months) and had it very mildly. According to her doctor, getting it so young meant it would be milder and also provide immunity for life. I see Stephanie's comment about her & hubby having it a number of times (and I've heard this from a few other people too) but Little Moos doc insists that means it was mis-diagnosed. Who really knows.

    In any event, I would never have actually sent Moo to a pox party BUT when she had it a friend of mine insisted on bringing her 2 kids (aged 4 and 5) over to play in the hopes they'd get it. And they did! I think having two sick grouchy kids at the same time was brave of her, but at least its over now…

  8. I have 3 boys (25, 16 & 14). The oldest had chicken pox when he was 4 and it was absolutely awful for him. He had it so badly that you couldn't put a nickel on his body and not touch a blister. He had them in his hair, between his toes and in his mouth/throat – maybe 200 blisters, I'm not sure since there were too many to count. There is absolutely no way I would ever purposely expose my children to chicken pox, especially after the older one's experience. My two younger boys were vaccinated against it and they never had any problems with the vaccine. I know there are horror stories out there with the vaccinations but that is probably another post.

    Karen in MD

  9. My husband and I are going back and forth about the vaccine. I don't want to do it, he does. If we don't do the vaccine, we'll probably do a pox party. I'd rather my kids get it young and get it over with when they can't remember it. I just want my youngest to be at least 2 first if possible.

  10. I was on the fence with the varicella vaccine, and had been leaning the “pox party” route, mostly because I had heard of college-aged kids getting shingles. My pediatrician told me there used to not be a booster and now there was, which “should” prevent those cases, and that in our area it was getting really hard to find pox parties. The potential difficulty in exposing Pixie later to get the natural immunity, and a little bit that she already has eczema so chicken pox could be especially bad, made me opt for the vaccine (and booster vax). I'm still not 100% certain it was the right way to go, but I think it was the right choice for our family. Hopefully.

  11. Why would anyone intentionally expose a child to a disease that kills children? Kids die from chicken pox every year. Vaccines exist for a reason – to prevent and lessen serious diseases. Parents who don't vaccinate their own children put other children at risk. And, yes, I did actually knew a child who died from chicken pox.

  12. One word: Shingles.

    Shingles is a very serious adult disease that can cause blindness, deafness, and brain damage. THE ONLY WAY to get shingles, is to have had chicken pox as a child. Having had it as a child does NOT protect you against shingles.

    The only way to prevent shingles, is to be vaccinated against chicken pox.

    If you intentionally infect your child with chicken pox, you are causing your child harm. There is no two ways about this.

  13. the chicken pox or Varicella vaccine don't not protect aganst Shingles. both catching chicken pox and getting the vaccine give you the same risk of contacting Shingles when your older.

    when you are given the variclla vaccine what it is you are given is a weakened form of chicken pox. it is even possible to get a vrey vrey vrey milded form of really chicken pox from the vaccine or catch miled chicken pox later because you did not gain a strong enough immunity from the vaccine to full fight off the full form of the illness

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