Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Keeping Mum: It couldn't be... chicken pox?

Almost every child in Mt Eden has been immunised against chicken pox, says Dita de Boni.Photo / Thinkstock
Almost every child in Mt Eden has been immunised against chicken pox, says Dita de Boni.Photo / Thinkstock

It started with a little rash under one arm. I didn't think much of it at the time as the kids are generally a wheezing, itching, sneezing bunch (with the asthmatic and hayfever gene coming from both Ali and myself). Hives was what I actually thought it was, and having been through trying to locate different foods as the cause of the mad scratching several times before, didn't hold out much hope I would ever get to the bottom of it.

My son, who had the small rash for about 10 days, was duly dispensed to playdates, school, the park, parties and all other usual manner of social interactions without a second thought, until the very last day of the school term, where I noted the rash was spreading down one side of his body and right down to the end of his legs.

Surely... it couldn't be... chicken pox? For some reason I had in my head that someone with chicken pox was feverish, out of sorts and not eating. Not so him. He'd eaten so much recently I thought he had tapeworm. He'd been running around like a loon as usual. But we kept him home from the last day of school just in case.

It was probably too late by that stage, because in the next 24 hours his sister developed a much more severe case of the dreaded pox, with blisters all over her torso and head and a blazing hot forehead. It was then I started feeling very guilty about dispatching them both hither and yon, no doubt spreading the virus far and wide. Amazingly though, it seems I am the last person on earth to have learnt there is a vaccination for chicken pox, and almost every mother in Mt Eden has already had her children inoculated.

I confess I could not remember hearing about the vaccination until it was too late, but part of me also felt - while I agree wholeheartedly with vaccinations in general - was there any real need to get this vaccination for something we all got as kids, and all seemingly survived? (Although we were scarred by it, some of us, which I have now learnt is because we were slathered with Calamine lotion, which apparently promotes scarring of the skin. Calamine cream, which we use these days, is much better, and still as soothing). I'm a walking knowledge bank on chicken pox now, as you might have guessed.

I now have the pleasure of waiting for the one-year-old to become pox-ridden - he's already very clingy and whiny and off his oats, so it's certainly coming. I have a six and four-year-old who are in quarantine and driving their parents and each other mad and unable to attend any holiday activities; generally bad weather; roadworks outside my house; and a mountain of housework and boring administrative tasks that need attending to.

As usual, the school holidays prove themselves to be the most challenging part of the child-raising calender!

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Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

Read more by Dita De Boni

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