Wanna get sick? Just take a lick! You heard right. New in the market: pops for the chickenpox. There are some crazy parents that are dying to get their hands on the germs for sale in the form of suckers. Sorry, but we just had to say it—suckers for suckers.
Germ spreading via candy is a revolutionary idea, we’re not too sure it’s the smartest though. Pox parties are so passé. In case you don’t already know, pox parties are held so that a chicken-poxed child can mingle with non-infected ones so that the pox can be spread. Pox parties have been around even before the advent of vaccines for smallpox…
Why? The younger the child gets infected, the less severe it would be when manifested. Plus, the younger you get immunity the better, right? Chicken pox could be fatal if you get it as an adult as there could be more complications—well, that is what people believe. Some parents argue that getting the virus naturally is more beneficial to the child’s overall health. So, now you understand why parents are scurrying to get their hands on the germ-soiled lollipops.
There are numerous ‘Find a Pox Party’ sites on Facebook and other social media sites all over the United States. Parents are actually putting up pox-germ-ridden diapers, candy and blankets for sale. They even ship these items through the mail. Can someone say Eeeeewwwww? We are cringing over here.
In Nashville, a TV station reported that a native woman charged $50 to ship lollipops that were licked by her chicken-pox-infected children. Posted on a Facebook page named ‘Find a Pox Party in Your Area’ was, “fresh batch of pox in Nashville shipping of suckers, spit and Q-tips available tomorrow 50 dollars via PayPal.” The site has been taken down.
Jerry Martin, a Nashville federal prosecutor warned: “It’s illegal and unsafe… Can you imagine getting a package in the mail from this complete stranger that you know from Facebook because you joined a group, and say, “Here, drink this purported spit from some other kid”?
Martin has issued a warning to moms wanting to sell contaminated candy. It is after all a federal crime to send diseases or viruses across state lines. Shipping suckers is illegal under the same law; just like it is a crime to mail contagions like anthrax. If convicted, the sentence can range from one year to 20 years.
Guess who is taking a strong stand against pox parties and infected lollipops? Pediatricians! You’ve got to trust them; they warn that children exposed to such practices have a higher risk of developing encephalitis and group A Strep. The best way is to get your kid vaccinated.
There might be pros and cons but most medical experts are agreeable on this one – parents should choose the vaccine over other crazy infectious methods.
Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician specializing in infectious disease at the department of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said: “The thinking many parents have is that the natural infection is more likely to induce higher levels of antibodies and longer-lasting immunity than vaccines. That’s generally true but the problem is if you make that choice you are also taking the risk of a natural infection, which can mean hospitalization and sometimes death.”