Gone are the days when parents would purposely get their kids to play with the neighbors because they had chicken pox.
What am I talking about? Parents-mine did, maybe some still do-used to want their kids to contract chicken pox in the early school years in order to get it over and done with.
In my day, the chances that a kid would get through childhood without falling pray to the itchy virus were slim, and the effects of the infection can be worse, the older an individual gets.
And so parents would call up their friends if one of their own fell ill, and invite everyone that hadn’t had it yet over for a chicken pox party. Well, not exactly, but you get the picture.
The need for those practices has disappeared, though, in recent times with the appearance of a vaccine to inoculate against chicken pox.
I heard of it while attending a doctor’s appointment with my young son, and I was initially surprised.
Why vaccinate against something so common?
Without getting into the whole pro-con debate over vaccinations, here’s a bit of information as to why it is now possible to vaccinate your child against chicken pox.
For most people, having the virus results in some itchy skin irritations, a fever, and a need for extra rest that lasts a few days.
For a minority though, the results can be fatal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before the vaccination, about 11,000 people were hospitalized each year for chicken pox in the United States, and 100 of these actually died as a result of the illness.
It’s true that most cases are mild, but some, like this recent one in a toddler in the U.K, while non-life-threatening, can still be very painful.
For more information on the chicken pox vaccine, click here.