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By Shamard Charles
The Chickenpox parties were once a popular way for parents to expose their children to the virus so they can get sick, recover and build immunity to the disease. Kentucky representative Matt Bevin sparked controversy this week when he told a radio host he exposed all nine of his children to a neighbor who had the virus.
"Every single one of my children has chickenpox. You've got the chickenpox on purpose, "Bevin said in an interview with WKCT, a talk radio station in Bowling Green, Kentucky. "We found a neighbor who had it, and I went to make sure each of them got it. They were unhappy for a few days, and it turned out that everything was alright. "
Most doctors believe that deliberately infecting a child with the adult virus is a bad idea. While chickenpox is mild for most children, it can be a dangerous virus for others – and there's no way to know which child will have a serious case, experts say.
"I do not know why you would expose your child to something that could potentially have serious complications," Dr. Candice Dye, pediatrician and adjunct professor at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. "When you receive the vaccine, your body will be given a protective dose that will allow your body to produce antigens so that you do not have the full experience."
During the radio interview, Bevin told the host, "If you are concerned about yourself If you are an adult or if you are worried that your child is suffering from chickenpox, vaccinate your child. Do not worry about what others are doing. "
With his comment, Bevin overlooks the important contribution the vaccine makes to the immunity of the herd. This is the case when enough people are vaccinated against an infectious disease to protect others in the community who are not vaccinated, either because they have serious immune diseases or are too young to be vaccinated.
"Those directly affected can infect other people for up to three weeks. They may potentially uncover those who have not been vaccinated, and high-risk patients, such as immunocompromised patients, such as cancer patients or people suffering from steroids, and women who are pregnant, "said Drs. Bessey Geevarghese, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at Lurie Children's at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
"Getting the vaccine is simply a better way than exposing to chickenpox," she added.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not support natural immunization methods.
"When your child receives chickenpox, it gains chickenpox immunity without suffering serious complications," a CDC spokesperson said.
According to CDC, prior to the introduction of varicella In 1995, about 4 million people in the United States got chickenpox. More than 10,500 of them were hospitalized and about 100 to 150 died each year.
The chickenpox vaccine uses a weakened version of the virus to build up the person's immunity to the actual virus, resulting in a milder and shorter course of the disease , Without the vaccine, the symptoms usually last five to seven days.
Most children experience symptoms such as itchy rash, fever, headache and fatigue, but more serious, though rare, problems such as skin infections, dehydration, pneumonia and dangerous swelling of the brain can be termed encephalitis.
The CDC recommends two doses of the chickenpox vaccine, as this amount is about 90 percent in protecting the individual from the disease. Doctors usually administer the first dose between the ages of 12 and 15 months and the second dose between the ages of 4 and 6.
For unvaccinated children over the age of 13, who have never had chickenpox, it is recommended that they receive two vaccines at intervals of at least 28 days