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Swine Flu Parties? Send Your Regrets, Experts Say
Date:10/22/2009

Some parents reportedly exposing healthy kids to those already sick with the H1N1 flu

THURSDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- While most people are doing all they can to avoid the swine flu, some groups of people are said to be actively seeking it out.

These are parents who are reportedly arranging swine flu "parties" -- similar to chicken pox or measles parties -- so their healthy children can be exposed to the virus through kids who are already sick with the H1N1 flu.

Health experts theorize that the rationale may be to give a child the swine flu while it's still relatively mild, before it mutates into something more virulent. But, so far, all indications point to the H1N1 virus staying as mild to moderate as when it first appeared in the spring.

Or perhaps parents think that the disease is somehow better than unknown side effects associated with the H1N1 vaccine. But, there appear to be no untoward side effects associated with the shot other than redness, tenderness and swelling at the injection site, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But health experts are universal in their condemnation of the practice of swine flu parties.

"Any time you willingly subject your children to an infectious disease, you run the risk of all sorts of complications," said Dr. Tamara Kuittinen, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "There's always a risk of giving them more than you bargained for. It may be dangerous."

Added Dr. Robert Frenck, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital: "It's not anything I would advocate for swine flu or any flu. Most of the time the flu is a mild illness, but it can be severe. People die from H1N1 and from the regular flu."

Swine flu parties could prove particularly risky because the H1N1 flu, unlike seasonal flu, tends to target children and young adults. According to data col
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