There’s a new fad that’s currently making its rounds on the largest social networking site: Chicken Pox Lollipops. This isn’t a name for a new lollipop with a chicken pox texture gimmick (as disgusting as it sounds). The name means exactly what it implies – lollipops that are said to contain the Chicken Pox Virus. People are sending the infected sweets through snail mail to parents who actually ask for them on Facebook.
This is all done in the hopes that their child will develop a natural immunity to the virus. Some parents believe that since they survived Chicken Pox as a child, same with several other people they know, then their child will be able to survive it as well.
A small number of groups in Facebook have begun sending out invites for “Chicken Pox Parties”. The hosts of these parties usually have a child who is infected with Chicken Pox and they invite other parents to come and bring their children, preferably those who have not gotten the Chicken Pox vaccine. The children are then encouraged to play with each other so that the infection can be spread and the other child will also get sick. Sometimes, the children are also encouraged to share lollipops to increase the chances of contracting the disease.
As an alternative to the party, some parents decide to join the groups on Facebook and just ask for infected chicken pox lollipops from others. Willing contributors will have their sick children suck on a lollipop then mail it to the requesting parents in a package.
Good intentioned they may be, the groups have now been warned by authorities against this practice for two serious reasons.
The first is that knowingly and willingly mailing a contagion is a federal offense. While the law might probably have been used for the anthrax scares more than anything else, it also applies to Chicken Pox Lollipops. If caught, these parents could find themselves in serious trouble – about 1-20 years of it, regardless of what their intentions might have been.
The second reason is that sharing Chicken Pox Lollipops is hazardous to the health of the child. Aside from the chicken pox virus, the lollipop could also contain other more dangerous pathogens such as the hepatitis virus.
It’s a dangerous practice, one that could potentially land a child in the hospital. To expose one’s child to a dangerous disease will also expose him to the complications related to that disease, which – at worst – could prove fatal.