Facebook is great for many things like keeping up with friends, seeing photos, conversing with brands, and of course, finding a way for your child to contract the chickenpox. Wait, what??
This may top the list of wacky Facebook stories.
I’m sure you have heard about chickenpox parties where parents get their kids together with a child who is infected so that it can be passed around and immunity can be built naturally. The Facebook page promoting “Find a Pox Party in Your Area” goes beyond linking people to parties, way beyond actually, and sells items that are contaminated such as, oh, contaminated spit. The page promotes items like lollipops, Q-tips or washcloths that have been sucked on, swabbed or used by kids with the virus.
According to WSMV 4 in Nashville, Wendy Werkit is one of the active members on the page who offers the contaminated goods for sale. She sells $50 chickenpox-laced lollipops that were sucked on by her kids and says, it’s “so that other peoples' kids can get chickenpox, they can't get them the normal way anymore of just naturally catching and just naturally getting the immunity for life."
I don’t want my kids to drink out of the same cup as someone who has a cold, let alone suck on something from a total stranger that may contain chickenpox and who knows what else.
The station spoke with Dr. Tim Jones, Tennessee Health Department’s Epidemiologist who said, "Even in the best circumstances, exposing your children to a potentially serious or even fatal disease which is virtually, completely preventable by a really safe vaccine is inexcusable. Not even talking about the other accidental risks from shipping, other infections."
The U.S. Attorney General in Nashville, Jerry Martin, added, "The message ought to be loud and clear to individuals who attempt to engage in this behavior, that the federal government and the Department of Justice take a very dim view to violating any federal laws but certainly laws that put public safety and public health at risk."
There’s another very similar page for connecting pox-ridden kids called “Find a Pox Party Near You” that claims it is NOT the same page as the one that’s being reported on. The administrator of that page writes:
There are approximately 35 news stories on the internet about the "Pox Party Facebook page" that sends viruses through the mail. Just so you all know, the page that allowed that to happen, where they would send lollipops and dish rags and such through the mail, was a page called "Find A Pox Party In Your Area" that has since been deleted. This page is not in any way related to that page.”
Even if the original page has been deleted, there’s no doubt that there’s an already-connected community of people who are willing to trade spit and give it to their kids. I understand that some parents may not be on board with the whole vaccine idea (the CDC says it’s the most effective way to prevent chickenpox and is “very effective”), but how can accepting an item by mail from a perfect stranger be a logical alternative? One of the posts from a member of the now-defunct page said, “I got a Pox Package in mail just moments ago. I have two lollipops and a wet rag and spit.”
For parents who are engaging in this behavior, you may be better off letting your kids lick the swings and monkey bars at your local playground. It’s probably much safer. And you never know, you may get lucky and have your kid contract another bonus virus as well.
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