A pox on all those lollipops
Outliers grew up in an age when chicken pox meant spending a week or two at home from school in a state of sustained pain and fever, taking baths loaded with baking soda and trying like crazy not to pick at those awful sores that popped up on arms, legs and basically everywhere. Ugh. Still, we survived. So what to make of the trend of parents deliberately exposing their kids to the virus in the belief that the body’s natural reaction creates a stronger immunity to the virus than the vaccine released in 1995?
Before answering, consider this new twist: Rather than just gathering kids at so-called “pox parties,” where they can infect one another, one mother in the Nashville area recently started advertising, via Facebook, that she would mail vaccine-wary parents lollipops tainted with the virus from her kids. Or she would just mail the spit and cotton swabs if customers preferred, according to news accounts in National Public Radio and the Associated Press.
The mother told reporters that parents had in fact purchased these Pox Pops ($50), apparently unaware of the federal law against sending viruses through the U.S. mail, which was cited by ABC News.
“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?” said Jerry Martin, U.S. attorney in Nashville, according to the Associated Press.
And for the record, between 100 and 150 people a year died from chicken pox before the vaccine was available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2003-04, the CDC recorded eight deaths.