Swine Flu Party, Anyone?

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swine flu

Not being a parent, I was startled some years ago when old friends told me that they had deliberately sent their two young kids to a party to catch chicken pox from an infected child. Apparently, some Americans are considering the idea of swine flu parties as a way to catch the milder version of the disease now before the fall comes when a more deadly version might emerge. According to the New York Times:

Infectious-disease specialists say they understand the logic: surviving the current, apparently mild strain of the virus may be protective if a more virulent strain emerges next fall. But they are generally against it….

"I think it's totally nuts," Dr. Moscona said. "I can't believe people are really thinking of doing it. I understand the thinking, but I just fear we don't know enough about how this virus would react in every individual. This is like the Middle Ages, when people deliberately infected themselves with smallpox. It's vigilante vaccination — you know, taking immunity into your own hands."

One more big problem: There aren't many flu sufferers to whom would-be infectees can cuddle up. As for me, I think I will just cuddle up with my stockpile of Tamiflu and wait for a vaccine.

Whole Times story can be found here

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  1. “taking immunity into your own hands.”

    Or perhaps your own immune system?

    And isn’t the Swine Flu showing to be pretty resistant to Tamiflu Ron? Thought I read that somewhere.

  2. It’s vigilante vaccination – you know, taking immunity into your own hands.

    ‘Cause, you know, the last thing anyone needs is people taking their health into their own hands.

    Next up, the AMA campaign against vigilante nourishment. Don’t let your food choices fall into the hands of unlicensed shysters!

  3. This sort of behavior needs to be banned. For the children.

  4. The argument can (and will) be made that parents are willfully exposing children to a potentially dangerous disease, and that it constitutes child abuse.

  5. In barrio, party finds you. All my kids had the sniffles and heavy coughing for a week. No fevers, but the temperature in our hovel is fairly high. We didn’t send the big one to school, just sat around festering in our own germs, taking them out for pleine aire once a day. I’m hoping skipping school counted as swine flu panic, so we can say we did our part to kill the news cycle.

  6. The best thing people can do for their kids–and themselves–is to have a proper diet and be healthy. Catching a mild version of swine flu is for losers. Having a really strong immune system is the way to go. Take it from someone who was never sick, at all, from grades 6 through 12. No sick days off, though.

  7. Ron are you ripping off a South Park episode or did that really happen? That’s mind blowingly stupid. How disconnected from reality can someone be?

  8. Epi,

    What did you do? Swim in a sewage feeder creek?

  9. Damnit Naga! You beat me to busting a Carlin or Carlin-esque quote.

    :shakes fist at Naga:

  10. Catching a mild version of swine flu is for losers. Having a really strong immune system is the way to go.

  11. Ron are you ripping off a South Park episode or did that really happen? That’s mind blowingly stupid. How disconnected from reality can someone be?

    When I was a kid, this was common behavior. One kid on the block gets the measles or the mumps or chicken pox, send your kid over to get’em too. Gets it out of the way; they’ll get it anyway sometime (or spend their adult lives in fear of it) and it was generally understood that it’s safer to get those diseases out of the way before puberty.

    Don’t know how wise it was, but it was done.

  12. I definitely recall the attitude among my parents and those of my contemporaries in the late 70’s-early 80’s was that catching chicken pox was a matter of “when” not “if”, and that the sooner you got it out of the way, the better off you were. I don’t think my parents deliberately exposed us (and if they did, at this point I don’t want to know), but my sister and I did both get it in rather quick succession.

    The problem with this strategy for H1N1 (and any other flu virus) is that greater virulence in humans is more likely to develop the more human hosts end up with it. The fewer people that get infected, the less chance it will actually become more dangerous to people (or more pessimistically, the longer it will take to do so.)

    Keeping infection rates low is the best approach, both short- and long-term. And getting deliberately infected is batshit crazy.

  13. Ain’t no party like a swine flu party.

  14. Kyle Jordan: If you click on the link to Tamiflu, you’ll find a news report that says the swine flu responds to both it and Relenza. If you have other/more accurate info, please share. That way I can prepare to run away to my cabin in the Blue Ridge for the duration. 😉

  15. Take it from someone who was never sick, at all, from grades 6 through 12. No sick days off, though.

    I guess I’m a pussy. I missed two or three days in that time due to actual illness.

    ‘Course, I took all the sick days the school board would put up with.

    The hard part is lying to your folks with a straight face. After that school officials are a piece of cake.

  16. I can’t control my awesomness, Kyle. It comes in fits and starts. Sorta like tourettes.

  17. Wait, so this isn’t going to be like The Stand? I’ve been out of the loop too long.

  18. The story I read was a link I followed from Drudge during the height of the paranoia so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just fearmongering.

    And I’m stealing that link Naga, because it’s awesome.

  19. Link?

  20. catching chicken pox was a matter of “when” not “if”

    What did you do? Swim in a sewage feeder creek?

    My sister had chicken pox when we were kids. I was in the same house with her, and my parents, I’m pretty sure, figured I would just get it. I didn’t, and never did. Years later I was being tested for various things, and the test for chicken pox antibodies came back positive. So my immune system beat it off and produced the antibodies, but I never got sick.

    Take that, Randall Flagg.

  21. Sorry. I meant to type “line”. I shouldn’t post when I’m in need of sleep.

  22. Swine Flu Party? Wait a second… I think there was already something like that…

  23. Next up, the AMA campaign against vigilante nourishment. Don’t let your food choices fall into the hands of unlicensed shysters!

    It’s called the Center for Science in the Public Interest and they firmly believe you are too stupid to make your own dietary choices.

  24. Kyle Jordan,

    Be still my dog of war, I grant you sleep. Soon we will get the gas.

    Epi,

    Really? That’s fucking insane! I’ve only been sick about half a dozen times in my life. You’ve turned my bragging rights to shame. Wait. You aren’t Hugh Jackman running around with some retractable claws are you?

  25. Catching a mild version of swine flu is for losers. Having a really strong immune system is the way to go.

    Unless it turns out that having a strong immune system means the disease is *more* likely to carry you off. That’s apparently what happened in the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic, and early reports suggested that might be the case with this swine flue as well.

  26. Seaumus,

    Epi’s being groomed to battle The Dark Man. He slaps down sickness with ease. Just like the survivors.

  27. My parents and all their neighbors would deliberately expose all of their kids as soon as any one of us came down with chicken pox, the mumps and even measles and german measles. The logic being that we’re all gonna get it eventually, and it was easier to look after 3, 4, 5 or 6 sick kids at once than one at a time. They also wanted to be sure we got them while we were young.

    We did the same to our daughter with chicken pox. She came down with a very mild case (it was more like “Chicken POCK”), but I like to think she’s immune to it now.

  28. Joel,
    “When I was a kid, this was common behavior. One kid on the block gets the measles or the mumps or chicken pox, send your kid over to get’em too. Gets it out of the way; they’ll get it anyway sometime (or spend their adult lives in fear of it) and it was generally understood that it’s safer to get those diseases out of the way before puberty.

    Don’t know how wise it was, but it was done.”

    My sister-in-law caught the pox at 38 years old. She would GLADLY have had it as a kid instead (as my wife did). Her daughter actually got it twice (once as a child, again when her mother did). The second time she was 18.

  29. Not being a parent, I was startled some years ago when old friends told me that they had deliberately sent their two young kids to a party to catch chicken pox from an infected child.

    That’s what I did with children no. 2 and 3. (Child no. 1 caught it from me when I had shingles.) Now they have lifetime immunity. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find anyone to infect children no. 4 and 5. Child no. 4 is approaching puberty, so I guess I need to get him vaccinated, and instead of having lifetime immunity, he’ll probably have to get regular boosters.

  30. While Reason fritters, Dr. John Carlo, Dallas County medical director may be withholding vital information.

    Maybe… Reason… can… get… an… answer. Oh, who am I kidding? Reason would need to check with every DC doyenne first to get their OK.

    P.P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians.

  31. Hmm, HTML goofs ate the comment I intended to make earlier: I was wondering if “a strong immune system” is really such a good thing? The 1918 flu epidemic supposedly make people’s own immune systems attack them, which is why healthy young adults were the main ones struck down.

    Unhealthy diet and lazy lifestyle for the win!

    Also, if doctors and pharmaceutical companies could make money off of swine flu parties, they’d be encouraged. “Getting a mild form of the disease in hope of staving off a major form” … that’s pretty much what a flu vaccine IS.

  32. Chris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *shakes fist is air*

  33. STFU, LW.

  34. I was going to respond that since no one ever listens to the LonelyWhacker, what’s the point now, or claim that the swine flu has not shown to be as deadly yet as once feared, or something else maybe, but I was not going to say that you are loonier than a toon.

    You don’t know me! You don’t get to pick my fallacies! You’re not my real dad!

  35. Shut the fuck up, Lonewacko. And shove your PPS right up your jizz-encrusted ass.

  36. That’s a lot of acting out, highnumber. I’m gonna need to see a blood test to prove he isn’t your father.

  37. When I was 12 and hadn’t yet caught chicken pox, my parents sent me to a friends’ house for a sleepover, since her little brother had it.

    I caught a mild enough case. A couple of months ago, under massively unreasonable shit-tons of stress, I busted out in a nice little case of shingles.

    I hope this means my then 4 months old baby, who didn’t get sick, will be protected. He was too young to have received the vaccine as my 2 year-old had.

    The stress hasn’t let up – it’s actually getting worse – and I’m terrified of another shingles flare-up. That shit HURTS!

  38. Colloidal silver is the only way to survive the coming super-flu.

  39. I caught a mild enough case. A couple of months ago, under massively unreasonable shit-tons of stress, I busted out in a nice little case of shingles.

    Back in college, I had a shit-storm of stress visit me and the next thing I knew, I had Bells Palsy. The right-side of my face didn’t come back for 6 months.

    And, oh yeah, IT HURT. Doc fixed me up with an anti-epileptic drug and no more pain. Good thing too, since the Tylenol 3’s weren’t doing jack.

  40. Shingles hurts like hell. I had it as a kid, and it came back 20 years later.

    The first bout left me with scars all over my chest that look like I’d been badly burned.

  41. There are a lot more cases than are being reported. People go to get tested and are told ‘Stay home and rest’.

    They don’t have enough tests for even a small % of the people that come in to be tested. Assuming that they have confirmed 2% of the cases and there are around 1,500 of those, there are probably currently 75,000 cases in the US.

  42. South Park “Chickenpox” episode online:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/210/

    I heard the South Park creators are kinda libertarians — maybe Reason should interview them?

  43. A couple of months ago, under massively unreasonable shit-tons of stress, I busted out in a nice little case of shingles.

    The stress-related shingles outbreak was one of many, many incidents that convinced me to quit my last job. It was one of the final straws. And it sucks, no doubt about it.

  44. I heard the South Park creators are kinda libertarians — maybe Reason should interview them?

    https://reason.com/news/show/116787.html

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