Friday, October 12, 2007
Chickenpox Parties are Actually Harmful!
I found this article quite interesting since we were just talking about chickenpox parties. It is an op-ed; however, the author, Julia Snyder Sachs, has good credibility. She used to manage Science Digest, and is coming out with a book "Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World." The article "lyses" the myths about childhood illnesses being beneficial. It had been shown, by Dr. David Strachan, that exposure to early illnesses helped children not develop allergies or asthma. However, the cause was incorrect. It is harmless bacteria that seems to protect children. Having many childhood illnesses actually increases risk of dying from heart disease or cancer! It creates a wear and tear on the immune system. Ms. Sachs warns: "In a world abounding in harmless, even beneficial microbes, don’t embrace the tiny fraction that can make you ill." She includes chickenpox as a virus to avoid. I suppose that is safer now since there is a vaccine, because, as we discussed, it is more dangerous to get the disease as an adult. Ms. Sachs thinks it is important for anyone who is eligible, which includes children 6 months to 5 years, to get a flu shot to possibly help protect against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Appartently, it can be carried in the body via viral respiratory infections.