Parents, Beware of 'Chicken Pox Lollipops'

They're illegal, and probably not effective
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2011 8:26 AM CST
Parents, Beware of 'Chicken Pox Lollipops'
Medical authorities are warning again "chicken pox lollipops" and other alternative attempts at combating chicken pox while avoiding vaccinations.   (©Steve Snodgrass)

Fears of immunizations have gotten so bad—and so bizarre—that some people would rather order a lollipop licked by someone infected with chicken pox, thinking it might "naturally" create an immunity to the common childhood disease, than get the normal chicken pox vaccine. Unsurprisingly, medical officials are warning against this and other strange vaccine alternatives—such as "pox parties," where people gather to share items possibly infected by someone with chicken pox—which are gathering steam thanks to Facebook groups like "Find a Pox Party in Your Area."

"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?" says a Tennessee prosecutor, who reminds parents that such practices are illegal: Sending diseases or viruses through the mail is a federal crime carrying a sentence of up to 20 years, reports the AP. And tainted lollipops probably aren't even effective, says an expert in pediatric infectious diseases: "It typically has to be inhaled." (More chickenpox stories.)

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