Chicken Pox Lollipops? You've Got to be Kidding!


Mom, you're kidding me, right?

I don't quite know what to make of the ripples in the blogosphere over stories that some parents are so eager to avoid vaccines that they are buying chicken pox infected lollipops from strangers. The Associated Press reported:

Parents fearful of vaccinations are being warned by a federal prosecutor that making a deal with a stranger who promises to mail them lollipops licked by children with chickenpox isn't just a bad idea, it's against the law.

Jerry Martin, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said he was spurred by reports this week by KPHO-TV in Phoenix and WSMV-TV in Nashville about people turning to Facebook to find lollipops, spit or other items from children who have chickenpox.

"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 told the Associated Press.

Actually, to answer Martin's question: No.

Back before the vaccine was available friends of mine did in fact send their young kids to play with other infected children at so-called chicken pox parties. But folks, this is the 21st century!

Disclosure: I got my chicken pox immunity the old-fashioned way and as a result will be getting vaccinated against shingles eventually.

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  1. Sounds like an internet myth.

  2. Tim: It does to me too, but there is that AP report.

    1. Weren’t there breathless AP reports about other myths, like rainbow parties?

    2. Wasn’t there pretty significant reporting on Jenkem, which was just some kid on &Totse; with a bottle and poop?

      1. A wild semicolon appears…

  3. I also licked athlete’s foot.

    1. Warty makes me lick his foot when we role play Master/Slave.

      1. I make people lick my boots all the time. Its all part of policy.

        1. I LedOL.

          That’s some funny shit right there.

  4. there’s a chicken pox vaccine?

    woulkdn’t it still be easier and cheaper to just deliberately infect your kids by some other kid?

    1. Yeah, easier, cheaper – and stupid, given that the idea of the vaccine is to keep your kid from getting the disease.

      1. The issue with the vaccine is that Chicken pox is a mild disease in childhood and a shitty one in adulthood and we don’t know how long the vaccine lasts. You’re better off just being itchy for a few days as a kid.

        1. You’ve obviously never had full-blown chickenpox.

          1. Whaaaaaaaaaaa……….

          2. I’d like to second this. I had an extremely bad case as a kid, and I’d have preferred get a vaccination, if they’d been available at the time.

          3. Let’s not leave scarring off the list. 45 years later, I still have somewhat visible pock marks in various locations.

        2. The issue with the vaccine is that Chicken pox is a mild disease in childhood

          It can be. I had a bad case as a 12 year old. Temperature spikes above 102, delirium, couldn’t eat for a few days.

          1. I believe that is the definition of “mild”.

            1. Oh, so the permanent brain damage from those temperature spikes is what you get from a “mild” disease?

          2. I got Chicken pox when I was about twelve, too. Oddly enough the doctor diagnosed it as Shingles.

            My reasons for coming to doubt that it was Shingles is the fact that I’m pretty sure I had not had Chicken pox before that. Both my brothers had it before I was born and they had always said I was lucky for not going through it. Also, Shingles is rare in twelve year olds. The doc even noted that but i guess he just assumed I’d had Chicken pox.

            So, even if there’s a remote chance I have had shingles I will get the vaccine shortly myself.

        3. Except, as Ron mentions, if you get the disease rather than the vaccine, you’re vulnerable to shingles as an adult.

        4. Chickenpox is particularly nasty during pregnancy. So, yeah, the vaccine is useful.

        5. It’s also a very powerful, though usually ultimately harmless, lesson on human mortality and vulnerability

        6. I had chicken pox when I was 18 in college. Took me out of everything for a whole week. This happened in 1988, so I didn’t have a choice in getting vaccinated (the vaccine came out in 1995).

          Please get your kids vaccinated.

      2. Stupid? Who says so? I think I’d rather trust my immune system which has had tens of fucking thousands of years of dealing with those critters.

        1. A certain Forrest Gump quote springs to mind.

        2. FWIW, when my daughter was young, the vaccine was pretty new and I had intended on getting her immunized because… well because I trust science. I never intentionally got her infected, but I also never intentionally tried to keep her from getting infected. She ended up catching it at day care. She seems to have her dad’s awesome immune system, she had some spots for a couple days, and she was fine.

          1. I am happy for both of you. WIW however is nothing in terms of general conclusions that we might reasonably draw from it.

        3. Troy: I trust your immune system will be able to handle a vaccine too.

          1. Troy must not understand how a vaccine works.

        4. Um, Troy, life expectancy prior to 1900 was 40. If you want to live a natural life and die at 40, go ahead, but I hope to live to 60.

    2. And shingles is terrible!

    3. before parents became “enlightened”, common practice was to put all the kids together when one became infected to get it over with.

    4. Intentionally exposing yourself to shit is stupid. Your immune system is weakened when it is already occupied with fighting one active infection. Why not just prevent yourself from getting things altogether? The fewer people become vectors, the less of a problem the disease will be.

      1. There is some evidence that exposure to minor infections helps build a robust immune system so that when your body encounters something for which there is no vaccine that your immune system is better prepared to fight it.

        Which is not to come down on the side of deliberate infection.

        1. Tonio, the devil is in the details. Many diseases can be minor infections or could grow into a major problem.

    5. That;s the point of the story, all these people are getting infected items to infect their kids with in lieu of a shot.

      They are vaccinaitng them this way, but unfortunately more out of fear of side effects from the actual vaccine than merely cost saving.

    6. If you’re on the fence about whether or to get the chickenpox or shingles vaccine, go look up shingles on wikipedia and check out the photo labeled “Trigeminal herpes zoster with uveitis and keratitis.”

      Jesus Tapdancing Christ on a Pogo Stick, it’s horrible…

  5. It’s not just about the kids. As the Mayo Clinic notes:

    Chickenpox is normally a mild disease. But it can be serious and can lead to complications, especially in these high-risk groups:

    Newborns and infants whose mothers never had chickenpox or the vaccine
    Pregnant women
    People whose immune systems are impaired by medication, such as chemotherapy, or another disease
    People who are taking steroid medications for another disease or condition, such as children with asthma
    People with the skin condition eczema

    A common complication of chickenpox is a bacterial infection of the skin. Chickenpox may also lead to pneumonia or, rarely, an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), both of which can be very serious.

    And let’s not forget shingles down the road.

  6. …a stranger who promises to mail them lollipops licked by children with chickenpox isn’t just a bad idea, it’s against the law.

    And yet they thought it was just fine when, outside Fort Pitt, they gave Native Americans pox-infected blankets last year. (I think it was in all the local papers.)

  7. I have never had chicken pox, but my sister had it as a kid, in the same house as me, yet I never got it. However, years later, I was tested for the antibodies for a job in a hospital…and I had them. So I got the best of both worlds; I got immunity from exposure yet never got the full blown sickness.

    I AM THE 1%

    1. Maybe you are the Kwisatz Haderach. Have you tried sticking you fist in a box.

      /all possible interpretations are fully intended

      1. you should be your. The period should be a question mark. Typing hard.

        1. Fear spelling is the mind killer, rob.

          1. You’re like Charleton Heston in Omega Man.

            1. “Is this how it starts? A trip to the laughing academy? No, you silly bastard, it starts with you asking yourself silly questions. OK, let’s get cleaned up.”

    2. You are a shingles candidate, however.

    3. Me too, but somewhat inconclusive: when my sibling contracted it, I may have, too. IOW, I had one pock mark…maybe. Never been tested to find out, though. Also have not had the flu in over 20 years, though I like to attribute that to my habit (strategy) of constantly smoking. Also, getting drunk for me requires a ridiculous amount of liquor. So basically, my rambling point would be: bodies are weird things, and some people are simply luckier than others in getting the one they’ve got.

  8. I followed the shingles link, in the section on who SHOULDNT get the vaccine, I saw this:

    severe allergic reaction to gelatin

    Either the most hilarious or lamest allergy ever.

    1. That’s a thing? You can have an allergy to freakin’ COLLAGEN? Live and learn, I guess.

  9. What’s the point of a vaccine, again? Isn’t it intentionally infecting yourself with a mild strain of a disease to create antibodies? And how, exactly, is an infected lollipop much different?

    The anti-vaccine stuff is beyond idiotic. Let’s bring back smallpox while we’re at it!

    1. The infected lollipop is supposed to give the kid the full blown disease, which is what vaccines prevent.

      1. The first smallpox vaccine was cowpox. To prevent smallpox, you gave someone cowpox. Cowpox and smallpox are closely enough related that the antibodies worked on both. Thus, someone who had had cowpox, couldnt ever get smallpox.

        But, what you didnt do was give them a smallpox lollipop.

        1. I want monkeypox.

        2. No, the first smallpox vaccine was smallpox. Before Jenner’s vaccine, a few doctors used small doses of smallpox gotten from people with mild cases in attempts to innoculate them. It was exceedingly risky and even the successful cases went through hell with even the less than fatal case of the disease they got.

          Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who caught the cowpox virus did not catch smallpox and started experimenting with innoculations using the cowpox virus. His method (make a scratch in the skin and introduce a small amount of the virus in some suitable solution) remained pretty much unchanged until the vaccine went out of use when the disease was erradicated.

          In fact the very word vaccination comes from vacca or cow (Latin).

      2. I guess what I meant was, how is an infected lollipop an improvement, i.e. how is getting the full disease better?

        1. It isnt. Unless you think baccines give you autism or something.

        2. As I understand it, the vaccine doesn’t give you lifelong immunity, and you have to get periodic boosters. This means that if you for some reason you fail to get your scheduled booster, you run the risk of contracting chicken pox as an adult, when it’s much more likely to be highly unpleasant or even fatal than if contracted before puberty. Getting chicken pox itself, on the other hand, reportedly confers lifelong immunity, which means that you run the risk of getting shingles, which is unpleasant enough, but far less so than adult chicken pox.

    2. Vaccines generally don’t contain viable organisms.

    3. Some vaxes have live microbes, others have dead microbes which still cause the immune system to react.

      1. The Salk Polio vaccine contains dead polio virus while the Sabin oral virus contains a weakened live virus.

        The oral vaccine is easier to administer to small children but carries a small risk of causing an actual infection. AFAIK, there is no such with the Salk vaccine.

        I have no idea how they compare for effectiveness over time.

    4. The anti-vaccination movement isn’t worried about the virus, which extensive research proves to be a disease agent. They are worried about the preservatives in the manufactured vaccines, which certain celebrities blame for autism despite studies that discredit that claim. Reading and evaluating a scientific study takes a few minutes of mental effort. Too many parents don’t think their kids’ health is worth that much work. This is yet another reason to end Social Security and let parents rely on their children’s goodwill in their old age.

  10. I am 100000% grateful that my parents vaccinated me from these illnesses, including chickenpox. It’s going to be more important as time goes on, I assume, since these diseases will return…

    1. They’ll come back alright. Stronger, faster, smarter, they’ll be like Ivan Drago beating the shit out your Apollo Creed antibodies.

  11. So dumb question I’;m too lazy to look up. If I have already had an outbreak of shingles, can I still get the vaccine?

    1. Nope. I followed the link above. I guess you can get the vaccine, but it does no good.

      1. Yay. So I can look forward to it again. Oh, joy.

      2. Interestingly enough, it appears that a high dose of the Varicella zoster vaccine does offer a significant, possibly worthwhile degree of protection against the development or progress of herpes zoster for some as-yet-undetermined length of time.

  12. No occupiers spamming this thread, guess they haven’t worked out a communal policy on chicken pox yet.

    1. But you notice also that you-know-who hasn’t shown up here, either. Primitivism has no mechanisms to support modern allopathic medicine.

  13. Some thing are sensitizers, your body will deal with them just fine until it doesn’t.

    Also, some permanent disorders are caused by the immune system attacking one’s own body, believed to be triggered by a virus at first. Which virus is unverifiable, as it will be long gone by the time the disorder is diagnosed. Multiple sclerosis is one example. What if chicken pox is one of the viruses that leads to multiple sclerosis later in life for some people?

  14. The real story here is how distrustful a good number of people out there are of Big Medicine that they’ll take the live, unattenuated virus over a strain that’s been worked over by Big Medicine.

    I have friends who are anti-vaccine radical activists. While I don’t go along with them, put me down as a vaccine skeptic — i.e. one who doesn’t automatically follow the Establishment’s recommend’ns or trends regarding vaccinations, but does not reject them all outright.

    When I was in medical school, we were taught that there would probably never be a vaccine against chicken pox, because it would be so hard to get to an acceptable ratio of benefit to risk. I guess they got there quickly enough, and via a development route that I did not anticipate.

    1. Why would you have friends of whom you are aware may put you at risk, or who most likely also smell like they do not take enough showers?

      1. They’re not putting me at any risk, and as to the smell, I fart more than all of them put together. Try

  15. Let me guess — this is happening most in San Francisco and the general Bay Area?

  16. I didn’t know there was a chickenpox vaccine. Shingles just sounds revolting, so thanks for the heads up, Bailey. Vaccine plz.

    1. It ain’t much fun, and I had a mild case. Stress-induced, too!

      I’m here to tell you: when your job sucks so much you get shingles outbreaks, quit.

      1. That sucks. I had no idea it could be stress-induced. Way to add insult to injury, Nature, you bitch.

        1. All forms of herpes can have stress-triggered outbreaks.

          1. Actually, I wonder how much of “stress-induced” stuff is bullshit, and simply a cover for our lack of understanding of the underlying cause of the illness. Stomach ulcers, for instance, were widely thought to be stress induced until a decade or two ago, when it was found that a bacterial infection caused the vast majority of cases.

  17. Something is seriously messed up in your head if you distrust medical professionals so much you won’t get a vaccine – But you trust a stranger on the interweb enough to have your child drink his spit.

  18. Ron – Thanks for the reminder! I just made an appointment to be vaccinated three hours hence. The vaccine seems to be in short supply: my primary care doc’s office doesn’t have any, but my local supermarket pharmacy does. I found out about the latter via Merck’s site:…..navigation

  19. Another side of the argument against vaccines is if you’re weak enough to be taken out by chicken pox, it’s better to have it happen before the inferior genes are passed on.

    Natural selection. It is a bitch.

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