I actually remember when I got chicken pox, it was so painful and made me feel so ill, I can still recall the pain to this day, even though it was over 30 years ago.
I also remember everyone around me getting it around the same time. In those days parents wanted their kids to get chicken pox and would try and expose them to get it over with.
But back then I don’t think we were aware just how dangerous this disease can be.
Some families would actively arrange for their children to be around other infected kids at what was known as “chicken pox parties” as they knew this would probably lead to immunization against the disease later in life — which some health professionals say is more dangerous than contracting it as a child.
“You definitely want to be immune to chickenpox before you become an adult, when it’s much worse, so parties were a good idea before the vaccine was introduced,” says Rodney E. Willoughby, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin told Parents magazine.
However, aside from the terrible blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever, the disease can cause more serious conditions. Severe complications from chickenpox can include pneumonia, encephalitis (brain swelling), toxic shock syndrome, bone and joint infections and bacterial skin infections.
An 11-month-old baby, for example, suffered a stroke in the U.S. after being infected with the virus.
According to a report in the Journal of Pediatrics the unnamed baby was exposed to the virus by his siblings, who weren’t immunized and had the disease a few months prior.
Difficulty touching his face
The baby, who had no known health problems, was taken to the emergency room after his mother discovered that his right arm and legs were weak when he woke up from his nap. Doctors also noted that he had difficulty in touching his face, a symptom of stroke.
Fortunately, the boy survived, but he probably will have “some kind of neurological sequelae” or even another stroke “if his arterial disease continues to worsen,” said Dr. Tina Tan, a chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University.
“Everyone thinks it’s a minor illness. There are a number of serious complications,” she explained to Today. “Basically, the chickenpox virus infects the large blood vessels in the brain and causes inflammation in them. The blood vessels can scar and that can decrease blood supply to the brain, which can lead to stroke.”
Because the baby was too young to be vaccinated (they must be older than 1 year), experts believe that the only thing that could have prevented the boy’s disease become so serious was if his older siblings had been vaccinated.
If you want to control and minimize the risks, there is only one effective way: vaccination. But more parents are opting out for various different reasons.
All 51 U.S. states have vaccination requirements for public school and daycare children. But allowances are made on the basis of certain religious and philosophical beliefs
What do you think? Should everyone vaccinate their children against chickenpox? Or is it good to let their child “get infected” as long as you are careful?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment field and share this important warning with everyone you know!