Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chickenpox lollipops for kids?

You've probably heard of chickenpox parties, in which parents bring their kids to get infected at a young age and thus gain immunity. Now, it appears that some parents have been selling lollipops coated with their infected children's saliva, shipping them out to customers around the country for $50 a pop (no pun intended). Bit of a ripoff though, since varicella is infectious through the respiratory route, not oral.

Let's not forget the fact that it's illegal to ship diseased or viral substances across state lines like this, and that there's a serviceable vaccine out there. Many parents out there want the "best" for their kids; in this case, they opt for a full-blown infection rather than the vaccine. Not that their concerns are without merit; in the U.S., the duration of protection by the vaccine is only about 10 years, though this does depend on exposure to wild varicella during the protected state.

Bonus fact: I caught chickenpox in middle school despite being vaccinated. Fun times, fun times.

-Alan "sorry for the sleepily-written blog post" Le


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