Shall I encourage my child to get chickenpox and get done with it?
My friend’s son has chickenpox and my mother suggested I take my daughter over so she can catch it and be done with it. What are the risks of this? And what are the implications of her not catching it as a child? Is it more dangerous in adults?
Chickenpox is usually a benign and self limiting disease which spreads very quickly as it is highly contagious. Many children get the disease during their childhood through contacts at kinderagerten, schools and playgrounds. The incubation period may last up to 3 weeks and during this period the child may transfer the virus to others. Even in most cases it is benign - rashes, mild fever and mild cold symptoms being the most typical -- in rare cases it may lead to complications such as lung or brain infection. The mortality rate from chickenpox in childhood population is 2 per 100,000, but it rises to nearly 7 per 100,000 after childhood. The severity of the disease and risk for complications is higher during puberty and adulthood. It might be very risky for an unborn child whose mother gets chickenpox during pregnancy. Vaccination provides close to 100% protection against getting the disease and can be administered even at early stage after contact with a sick child. If your child had not had contracted chickenpox during early childhood, it is strongly recommended to administer vaccine before puberty. 'Chickenpox parties' are not recommended by doctors.