Would you throw a Pox Party?
As parents one of the things we dread most for our children is Chickenpox but, conversely, it’s not unusual for us to be heard wishing our children would ‘just catch it now and get it over with’. In her latest Parent Panel post Multiple mummy Kerry discusses the pros and cons of pox parties and why they are just a little bit tempting.
This time last year I was confined to the depths of my house for three whole weeks. I was going stir crazy and thought I might explode with the knowledge I was going to see the same four walls again the next day too. All my creativity had be drained from me, and I was desperately running out of ideas as to how to entertain the children who were 18 months old (the twins) and nearly 3 (Big Brother), who were also feeling the effects of being trapped.
Why were we caged in this animal like way? How had we become prisoners in our own home?
Because of the dreaded pox! Not the plague pox – no we were not that ill- the Chickenpox!
It had been doing the rounds and I knew it was inevitable.
Chicken pox is a virus that most people get as a child. It starts with a red rash that turn into spots that become fluid filled blisters. The number of spots can vary as well as other symptoms and I suggest you check out the NHS UK site for more information.
Basically you are most infectious from 2 days before the rash appears (which obviously most parents have no idea is coming!) until all the spots have crusted over, which can be up to 6 days after they have appeared. The spots go into all places imaginable, believe me, and BB even got one on his eyeball!
The recommendations are to stay off of school or nursery until this time, to prevent the virus from spreading.
My three little ones caught it one after the other and because others avoid you like the plague and you cannot go anywhere it become a lonely duration. My Mum said ‘Oh how things have changed. Gone are the days of pox parties!’
Pox parties were basically play dates where you knowingly knew a child had chicken pox in the hope to infect your own child, to get it out the way.
Now is it cruel to unnecessarily expose your children to an illness? Or does this actually make perfect sense.
I tweeted this question out and actually the viewpoints are very even as to for and against it. Having had my three children infect each other anyway, I kind of had my own ‘in-house’ pox party by default. Luckily my husband and I had already had chicken pox so we didn’t suffer again but actually it is possible to catch it twice. I now think if I could have infected them at the same time, we could have had one week indoors rather than three!
One of my closest friends caught chicken pox as an adult in her 20’s. She says she was the most poorly she has ever felt in her life, and the risk are known to be more severe in adults and can lead to additional complications. So actually are we sensible to want to protect our children from an illness that we know at some point they may catch and we don’t want it to be risky for them.
Or is the fact that they may catch it the whole point, and in fact we are inflicting illness on a child that may never have caught it, had they not been exposed.
I don’t know what the right answer is, and I make no judgement on the choices that other parents make; like all things in parenting it’s about personal preference-we do what is right for our own.
I am grateful that mine caught it young and hopefully that is us done (but you never know) and it took the decision from my hands. With BB off to school in September I don’t know how I would feel now if my kids had not already had Chickenpox; probably worrying about the risk of days missed due to an illness he would no doubt catch at some point. I may not be asking for a pox party invite but I certainly won’t be avoiding those infected.
What are your thoughts?