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Chicken pox

When I stretched my arms this morning and then rubbed my eyes open, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Sun!

Today, for the first time in days, we have sun.

Many of the children in my five year old daughter’s classroom have chicken pox which is kinda a downer to the sunny weather. The teachers let the kids come to school even if they are still contagious!!!

I am sure by the end of the school year which is in a little over two weeks the entire class will have gotten it. All but my daughter.

All of my children have had the chicken pox vaccine. I made sure to get it taken care of while we were in the States for six months two years ago. In America, the vaccine is an obligation before children can enter Kindergarten. My oldest daughter (now 12) got the vaccine when she was two or three years old and it had first come out in the States.

Standing at the bus stop listening to the other mothers talking about how uncomfortable their children are and how they have to put cream on each sore even on the scalp, I was happy that my children are immune. Even if they do catch it (2 out of 10 that have received the vaccine are not completely immune) it will be a milder case of chicken pox than if they didn’t have the vaccine.

I don’t understand why the chicken pox vaccine isn’t being given in Europe like it is in the States. It had just been introduced in France about three years ago but wasn’t covered under the free health care. I think it was around sixty Euro for one vaccine. I don’t know if it is available or not in Switzerland. Apparently not since none of the kids in my daughter’s class have had it except for her.

I found a great article online arguing why you should vaccinate your child against chicken pox. It talks about how many in Europe think that the vaccine is not a good idea because chicken pox isn’t a serious illness and by catching it the immune system is strengthened. The article argues that in fact chicken pox is a serious illness and the vaccine is important in the protection of catching other serious diseases as a result of chicken pox.

So, I will be enjoying the sun today as well as the knowledge that my kids are vaccinated against chicken pox thanks to a short stay back home in the States! Because of that I don’t have to go through my kids crying in the night because they are too uncomfortable to sleep, I don’t have to deal with gross sores all over their little bodies which can scar and I don’t have to worry about them getting a serious case of chicken pox which may cause other complications.

I can enjoy the sun without worry.

long flight with three children
Photo of me on the plane from Cincinnati to Paris on our way back to Strasbourg just four months before we moved to Switzerland last year.

I can’t believe that this photo was taken in February of 2007. It seems much longer.

I am starting to miss my family in the States a whole bunch.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lisa June 18, 2008, 8:42 pm

    In America they are now pushing a second chicken pox booster as the first doesn’t seem to last. Since I have a mildly austic child and a child with Type 1 diabetes, I have come to believe less vaccines are better for overall health. I don’t claim to have any expertise or answers, but the Autism and Type 1 diabetes epidemic in America has me asking a lot of questions.

    I had chicken pox as an adult and it was miserable, but I didn’t even go to the doctor. Then my 8 week old child got it; he didn’t end up at the hospital (but we saw the doctor). My other three had the vaccine and my diabetic child had a second booster, because she is now a high risk for complications (of anything including a simple stomach virus).

  • Anne June 18, 2008, 9:58 pm

    Get the vaccine if you can!! Both my boys have had it (but it was not mandatory when my boys got it- but I think it is now in IL). I had chicken pox twice as a child. First case was a little too mild to get the immunity. However, my little brother had it soooooo bad that he almost died. His entire front was one big scab. His entire back was one big scab. They were EVERYWHERE. The doctor said that for every 1 chicken pox you see on the outside, there is one on the inside. He had a high fever, so my mom gave him asperin (in the mid 70’s before they knew not to give children asperin with a high fever) and he ended up getting Reyes syndrome. So, to avoid all of that, it’s worth paying for the vaccine. My husband had it as an adult. He said it was the most miserable week/week and a half in his life. I think this vaccine also helps protect against shingles, too. That’s no fun, either.

  • expatraveler June 19, 2008, 1:58 am

    I’m glad you don’t have to go through with 3 having it. I do worry at times that it might not work as well as having the real thing. I also worry what other drugs and contaminants they put into the vaccine… Having said that, I don’t have a clue why they don’t have it in Switzerland…

  • Caffienated Cowgirl June 19, 2008, 7:31 am

    Our son had the vaccine…and has been exposed to chicken pox numerous times without catching it. I haven’t heard any arguments that would deter me from it. But Europeans seem to be dead set against it. While living in the UK, our British friends were so outspoken about it. I just couldn’t understand. Then again, they also had Scarlet Fever running rampant through the village…and didn’t worry about their children catching it. Go figure.

  • sissi June 19, 2008, 10:07 am

    My children are not vaccinated so that pretty much sums up my point of view, or at least they had few vaccinations but not all of them, my last one is not vaccinated at all and I am delaying it as much as I can.

    I sent you an email.

    Bye!

  • Pumpkin June 19, 2008, 2:02 pm

    I have to admit I can see both sides arguements. I think it is a decision that parents should make but often times are forced to give their children the vacinnes any way otherwise their kids cannot enter school.

    I make sure my kids are up to date on vaccines because I have read that the benefits outweigh the risk. Yet, each time one of my children get a shot I am torn inside over it because I have read about the concerns in regard to immunizations. In the end, I feel I have to do it because of the schools.

    The reason I got the chicken pox shots for them is because I had a bad case when I was a child and couldn’t walk for a few weeks because they were on the soles of my feet and it was very painful. I have some scars and remember how miserable I was due to the constant itching.
    We were also told that in Ohio the children would not be allowed into Kindergarten without it.

    So, I completely understand both sides.

    As Caffienated Cowgirl pointed out and what got me was that the children that have chicken pox are not being kept at home and go to school and play outside with all the other kids as if they are not sick. This puts them in contact with several people some of which may not have strong immune systems and can cause them problems if they get chicken pox. That is what bothers me the most about all of this..

  • Jessica June 19, 2008, 8:53 pm

    I went through these serious of questions with each and every vaccine. A chicken pox vaccine? For a disease that rarely causes complications and if caught naturally produces lifelong permanent immunity? But instead we need a vaccine that doesn’t produce lifelong immunity? That children who are prevented from contracting the disease naturally, might become more susceptible when they are older and the disease can be more dangerous? And published studies have confirmed that vaccinated children can spread this highly contagious disease? And vaccine manufacturers contain a warning in their product inserts that say vaccine recipients should avoid close association with newborns and pregnant women? So now I have to worry that my newborn may be around a child who is contagious with the chickenpox vaccine? Why does my baby need a vaccine for a disease that I experienced as a child without any complications? A vaccine that since it’s been licensed has had to add at least 17 adverse events to its product warning labels? That serious reactions have been reported like anaphylaxis? Aseptic meningitis? Pneumonia? respiratory illness? Ear infections? Diarrhea? Vommiting? And a chickenpox like rash on the body? What a minute…did you just say a chickenpox like rash on the body? The vaccine causes a chickenpox like rash on the body that can last for up to four weeks? And in pre-licensure trials, some vaccinated children contracted chickenpox Huh? I’m so confused.
    Are you sure you’ve done your research?

  • Pumpkin June 19, 2008, 9:56 pm

    Jessica,
    I can understand where you are coming from. I personally decided to go ahead and have the shots given to my kids but as I said I am never happy when it is done. I do not take it lightly when I decide to do something which may harm my children and did look at all options like all mothers.

    However, I will say that I think that the parent should be the one to decide if their child gets it or not. I do not think that it should be required for school. I think we could take it further and question all of the vaccines…should any of them be required for school?

    Here in Switzerland, no one checks for vaccinations upon entering ecole enfantine. It is only checked when the children enter first grade according to another mother… I do not know if it is checked then or not for sure. In the States, a child can not go to daycare without their shot record being up to date.

    It is a controversial topic that is for sure.

  • Meghan June 22, 2008, 9:00 am

    I’m in the “thankful I vaccinated my child” camp. I didn’t know the chicken pox vaccine wasn’t available in Europe. I’m with you, thankful she got the vaccine before we moved here!

  • Pumpkin June 24, 2008, 2:42 pm

    Meghan,
    I think that it may be available but it is not mandatory and many parents and doctors do not think it is necessary. Even if it is available I am pretty sure it is not covered under insurance.

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