Archive for February, 2015

Vaccinations

February 5, 2015

I know from personal experience that a person in poor health who receives a live vaccine is at risk for a serious reaction. It has everything to do with the disease and the individual’s health but nothing whatsoever to do with unrelated behavior. It’s common sense, cause and effect. I had a very bad case of chicken pox as a child. I didn’t know it was related to shingles, but I got a very bad case of shingles when I was 57. It could have left me impaired, because shingles attacks the nervous system. My face was partially, and fortunately only temporarily with treatment, paralyzed. When I was finally able to get the vaccine the day after I turned 60, I was warned first that it was a live vaccine. I had also been warned that I was at high risk for getting shingles again if I got run down (it’s an opportunistic disease that doesn’t attack when healthy, but I have an autoimmune disorder). I opted for the vaccine. I reacted to it with a burning welt that covered about a third of my upper arm all the way from the elbow to the shoulder. I didn’t mind. I wasn’t paralyzed, I didn’t feel like I was on fire for weeks, I had no neurological side effects, and unlike shingles, the welt went away after several days.

When I was a child, my next door neighbor got mumps. The mumps turned into meningitis. The meningitis left him epileptic for life. There was no vaccine for mumps then, but there is now. And mumps in a male adult can cause sterility, but the vaccine can’t.

I’m old enough to have had measles more than once (there’s more than one kind) before there was a vaccine. I wouldn’t wish measles or chicken pox on anyone, especially a child or a pregnant woman, as it adversely affects the unborn child. I wonder if parents are afraid of vaccinating their kids, will they be afraid of caring for their kids if they get a preventable disease? Do they not understand that sometimes children actually die from measles? Do they think the risk of blindness from measles is less than their unsubstantiated fear of vaccines? Do they not care if their daughters grow up at risk of damaging or killing future grandchildren?

People in countries where diseases often cause death are grateful for vaccinations, which save lives. With all the wars, natural and manmade disasters, accidents, etc., over the years, the population of the human race has ballooned out of control since the invention of antibiotics and vaccines, because antibiotics and vaccines keep more people alive than wars and disasters can manage to kill. I’m not good at math, but even I get it.

There shouldn’t have to be legislation in the USA to force parents to vaccinate children. They should be grateful for the opportunity to keep their kids alive. I’ve heard nonsense about vaccines causing autism and learning difficulties–all totally unsubstantiated. Does gossip make it worthwhile to risk a child’s life over fear of a learning disability? I grew up with a learning disability, and I was never vaccinated for measles because it wasn’t possible then. Autism and learning difficulties existed long before the invention of vaccines, but then so did common sense. If a religion forbids common sense and protection of children against preventable diseases, it’s a false teaching–a wolf in lamb’s clothing. Or maybe some people are just too lazy to think.

The worst reaction I ever had to a vaccine lasted 24 hours, during which I was too sick to leave the house. The booster shot I’d had was for tetanus and typhus, neither of which lasts only 24 hours. Of course I don’t enjoy reactions, but I’d much rather the reaction than the disease.

I had an uncle I never met because he died of whooping cough as a child. There’s a vaccine for that now. I had it with no memory of a reaction. A temporary reaction beats dying any day. If you love your kids, do what you can to keep them alive. Vaccinate. It’s how we got rid of small pox and polio, and yes, I’m grateful I was vaccinated for both.

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