Sometime ago, I had brought Petit-Homme to be vaccinated against the dreaded chicken pox. I learnt last week that the vaccine is not a complete shield. In a zealous frenzy, the virus took down at least 11 kids (at last count) in Petit-Homme’s class at crèche (including PH). None of them had been vaccinated to my knowledge, and a few adults I spoke to were not aware the option to do it existed in the Netherlands. The last kid standing was unaffected as she had contracted it at 9 months, at another daycare (hurray communal child care!). Fortunately, he breezed through it easily with fewer than 20 spots on his body (only one on his face) and only mild itchiness and fever for a few hours. Crèche allows chicken pox victims to attend so I can attest to some very interesting sights and stories this week – a number of kids were blanketed in spots and some were forced to stay in bed with high fevers. Given that, I suppose even if the vaccine wasn’t 100% effective, it was better than nothing. (I had gotten a shot too, and so far no illness to remark upon..)
As most would know, calamine lotion is the chicken pox sufferer’s best friend for its instant itch-relieving powers. So I went scurrying around for a bottle. Guess what, the first pharmacy I went to said they “no longer sold it” for unknown reasons, and the second drugstore said “What’s that? How about some aloe vera?” No one there had even heard of it. Bottomline, it seems to be almost impossible to purchase calamine in The Hague (though admittedly I didn’t search beyond those two stores as my British supplies mule was arriving in DH that same day with a precious bottle.)
I’m still very much a fan of immunizing kids against chicken pox. True, it’s only “one week of agony” but when life is already so full of unavoidable diseases, why not try to eliminate those we can?