Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Pox On Ye: A Duggar Dilemna

Now I have to say this, I haven't actually seen the episode yet, but enough people have commented on it that I thought I'd throw in my two cents. Apparently Jim Bob made a comment during the episode with the kids having chicken pox that since they've now had the chicken pox, they won't ever get shingles. Well, it's time to spread the word that his statement is wrong!


This question came up on the "19 Kids and Counting" facebook page several times and several people, me included, have told their tales. I had chicken pox as a newborn--about 6 months old. My 10 year old (at the time) sister had them with me. I got shingles at age 38 and it was horrifying! I had one open sore on the middle of my forehead and my entire face was swollen like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. My husband was convinced I had a spider bite, but at the ER everyone who came by to look immediately said, "Oh, that's shingles." I slept with ice packs on my face and was never so grateful as when the nurse gave me a shot of Demerol in my behind.

All 12 Duggar kids who had chicken pox in the episode now run the risk of contracting shingles. Of course not everyone who has had the chicken pox WILL get shingles, you just become able to get it. They say that shingles can/is brought on by overly stressful situations. I have no idea if that is entirely true, as I certainly don't remember being overly stressed when I came down with it. We had just arrived back home from 3 weeks abroad, 2 weeks in the UK and 1 week in Israel and the trip was fantastic. But hey, travel is stressful. I just know that I was surprised to find out it wasn't a spider bite.

A lot of people on the facebook page also brought up the chicken pox vaccine. I, like many others on the page, didn't know there was one. My daughter's shots are all current and I do not think she's had a chicken pox vaccine, as I don't believe it's one that's considered "required." I put that in quotes because nowadays it seems that shots are becoming more of a choice than a requirement like they used to be. When I was growing up there were only a couple acceptable reasons not to have shots at school, and those were religious reasons and if you were one of those people for whom the shot would kill you. I don't want to get in a debate over shots vs. no shots, I'm just talking about the chicken pox shot. And continuing with the chicken pox shot, it was also stated by several people that the chicken pox shot is not terribly effective. Apparently having the shot will not guarantee you a chicken pox free life.

It was also brought up that most people seem to think of the chicken pox as not being very dangerous, more of a nusance than a dreaded disease. I remember a few years ago chicken pox parties being in vogue. Parents of young kids would find out a classmate or playmate had it and all of a sudden a chicken pox slumber party would happen so they could make sure their kid had it at a young age when it was "harmless." Having it as an adult is more harmful, apparently. Doctors freaked out over this idea of purposefully giving your kid a disease and pointed out that chicken pox can have dangerous outcomes.

It would be nice if the Duggars could correct that statement. I am surprised there wasn't a pop-up in post-production that corrected that statement. I hope people don't take Jim Bob on his word, because in this case, he was wrong.


  1. Actually Jim Bob didn't make the comment; one of the kids made the comment when their Dad asked what was good about getting chicken pox. He did sort of agree and then went on to something else. He probably didn't know and thought the child was probably right. You can get shingles without ever having chicken pox, it isn't a necessary pre-requisite I don't think.

  2. well, i knew nothing about this, and was always told that it was better for kids to have chickenpox when they were younger than to have thenm risk gettng it as an adult where the chances of death are much higher (against just what i have been told.

    so i went to webmd and i found this on shingles

    hope this helps others who had NO idea what this was talking about.

    oha nd here is the one for chicken pox!

  3. I will never, ever, have my children get the chicken pox vaccine. I understand the important of being immunized against certain diseases (example measles) however, not enough research has been done on recent vaccines (such as the HPV vaccine and the chickenpox vaccine). We have no idea how that will affect people when they are older. I am in no way anti-medicine (I take antibiotics when I need them and Tylenol, etc) but I don't think new medicine is very reliable. It has happened in the past where people's children ended up with birth defects, etc because they received new immunizations. Unless there is an epidemic and the chances are good that I (or my family) will die from a disease, I will not get any new vaccines. I felt the same way when they were talking about the swine flu and the new vaccine. How ridiculous. I am not putting something in my body that scientists just concocted in two weeks. I would probably end up dying from that instead of the actual flu ;).

  4. I just wanted to point out also, that it IS possible to get Chicken Pox more than once.

    Here is the reference:

    Just wanted to put this information out there.

  5. Thanks for the post and comments. I'm waiting for the episode to be on the website (no cable) to see - interestingly enough, our 11 month old came down with chickenpox this week. Of course, other than the spots, you wouldn't know he was sick.

  6. Chicken pox is caused by a virus, similar to the Herpes virus. Virus are NOT curable; you have them for life. The virus becomes dormant and hangs out in your body doing nothing until it senses that your body isn't healthy (the virus wants a healthy place to live - so once it sense its host is sick, it will plan its escape to a new host -- ergo, shingles re-appearing on an adult who had chicken pox as a child)

    Chicken pox is great to great as a kid (medically, you're better able to fight it) - missing a week of school, watching cartoons, and eating Popsicles - c'mon, that's awesome!

  7. We had our kids get the chicken pox vaccine because it's difficult to get them exposed to it as a kid now because of everyone getting the shot. My kids were older when they got the shot and hadn't been exposed to chicken pox yet. I would rather have them be immunized than contract it as an adult.

  8. Josiah is said to have been born with a minor birth defect. I've been looking around and I can't find anything about it. Do you know about it?

  9. i read that part too--about Josiah's birth defect--and they mentioned it as well during a discussion i THINK about health insurance--about paying cash for it...or something it's kind of a blur...but yes i remember that...they never came out to say what it was, but there are a lot of options--sometimes it's a small hole somewhere (an organ) that needs fixing...cleft palate, although that would be more noticeable...could have been a crooked finger or toe...i honestly have no idea