Thursday, July 08, 2010

Should Parents Vaccinate? Yes!


These last two weeks have been quite an emotional roller-coaster.

Not only did I not get to see my kids for nearly two weeks, and endure endless pain of burning boils all over my body including in my nose, ears, mouth and throat during the infection, but one major outcome of the Chicken Pox caused me to lose nearly 80% of my hearing.

Those days had to be the most frightening experience in my life. Losing the ability to hear is something I hope nobody ever has to encounter.

Thankfully with a persistent doctor, some (painful) treatments, and medication I was able to finally get most of it back just a few days ago. The only problems remaining are some equilibrium issues, irritation of the ears, and some liver issues, which I’m now told should likely mend in a few weeks.

And I still have some weird red spots on my face that make me look a little “zombie-like” that aren’t fading as fast as I’d like, but I’m not bothered about that as much as I’m extremely thankful to not have burning boils (adult pox burn, they don’t itch) and have gotten most of my hearing back.

So a reminder for those who have never had Chicken Pox, please go get the varicella vaccine. As an adult gets older Chicken Pox can cause a whole host of complications including hearing loss, respiratory problems, bacterial skin rash, internal organ problems, inflammation of the brain, and even death. In pregnant women it can cause some serious birth defects.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my doctor, an ID (infectious disease) specialist, and the doctors at the ER and I’m completely convinced vaccinations are a necessary bit for preventing life-threatening diseases. In fact, I just recently received some re-vaccinations and boosters after getting some blood work done to determine which ones I needed, as like most people, I haven’t had anything since I was a young kid nearly 30 years ago. Some vaccinations need to be updated every 10-20 years.

I finally returned to work 3 days ago after being out for over 3 weeks, with some red spots remaining, and got into a heated argument with a woman who just refuses to vaccinate her children – 4 and 7 – because she thinks they cause autism even though study, after study, after study, disproves that, but yet there are parents like her out there that continue to believe that.

I told her that I felt sorry for her kids.

One fact that the ID specialist said to me that stuck in my head was that in 1900 the average age of death in the U.S. was 47 and 30% of infants died before reaching their 1st birthday (ref). Imagine having a baby and knowing there's a 30% chance that he/she may die within the first year? And did you know a lot of people didn't even name their child until after their first year? (ref.) Frightening stuff.
Control of infectious diseases is a huge achievement and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

21 comments:

Eric said...

Sorry about getting sick, dude. Glad you're on the path of recovery.

But you know as long as there are Hollywood types and hippies still living the anti vaccination movement will live on..

Mac and Cheese said...

I agree with you. I also really REALLY hope you are feeling 100% soon.

Amrita said...

Get well soon Tony. Hope the worst is over

Squid said...

Glad you're getting better. No fun.

Another reason for vaccinating is to protect newborns and infants to young for vaccinations. So, adults, make sure you've had your boosters if you're thinking about children, or thinking about being near new children -- especially in light of emerging whooping cough outbreaks. Whooping cough is extremely contagious, and adults often don't know they have it -- they may think they just have a persistent cough.

By the way, my son has autism. I vaccinate him, and all my children.

Squid said...

I may vaccinate, but apparently cannot write. Corrected:

"...newborns and infants *too* young for vaccinations..."

"...thinking about *having* children..."

Sue said...

WOW! You've really been through the ringer! I'm so glad to hear that you are on the mend and feeling better. I had no idea the adult chicken pox could be so bad!

I'm with you 100% on the vaccination stuff.

Take care and I hope your health continues to improve.

Warmest wishes to you and your family!

Awesome Mom said...

I am glad you are on the mend!!! I totally agree about vaccinations and I really need to get on board and see what booster shots I need. My eldest son has a heart defect so he is especially vulnerable when it comes to illnesses and I made sure he got all the available vaccinations.

Kurt Onken said...

Haven't checked in for a couple of weeks...heading home from a conference in Nashville tomorrow and finally have time to check the Google Reader. Just read your post here. Glad things are looking up for you finally. I also know some folks who refuse to vaccinate their kids...seems pretty insane. Hang in there!

Always Home and Uncool said...

Only problem w/ Chicken pox vaccine is it isn't too effective. Most of the kids in the Things' school who have had it have had the vaccine. Think the FDA changed the rec for kids to get additional boosters for it in the last year or two.

Hope your get back to normal soon.

Gabriella said...

I've heard that chicken pox in adults is a million times worse than kids but never knew anyone who went through it. What a rough ride for you.

But am showing this to my husband as he's never had them either and doesn't believe he should be vaccinated.

tamg said...

Glad you are getting better!

I agree wholeheartedly about vaccinations. Besides, my parents made sure I got all my vaccinations and I never got autism or anything else bad from them, so they must be good, right?

There's a time and place for "crunchy" parenting, but your child's health isn't it.

nonlineargirl said...

Glad to hear you are on the mend.

Via said...

Just letting you know that even if it hasn't been proven that vaccinations cause autism it is true that sometimes young children can have reactions to them.

My older sister has had grand mal seizures since she was five months old due to a reaction to her DPT shot. She also suffered brain damage which caused her to have mental retardation as well. My 31 year old sister is only two years old mentally. So don't be so quick to judge everyone who doesn't vaccinate their children. There may be a history in their family you are not aware of.

creative-type dad said...

Via -- I'm not disagreeing with you, and I completely sympathetic to that situation as that is truly a tragic rare side-effect. A child's parents with a family history of reactions should take those questions into serious consideration with their doctors.
But for a significant large portion of the public, vaccinations don't have any side affects and are instrumental in preventing large scale public outbreaks, plaques, spread of extremely contagious diseases, and widespread deaths. Those realities need to be taken into consideration before discounting vaccinations for those who are able to have them.

Armando Codina said...

Well, thinking about being near new children -- especially in light of emerging whooping cough outbreaks. Whooping cough is extremely contagious, and adults often don't know they have it, thanx for the post.

Kathy said...

I also know some folks who refuse to vaccinate their kids...seems pretty insane. Hang in there! anyway thanx.

Christina said...

My kid brother had a reaction to his MMR shot that caused encephalitis and left him permanently disabled. We have had the direct connection between the shot and his disabilities verified by numerous Drs and United State government. The shot was given to him when he had a slight fever.

Still, I firmly believe in giving the shot. Just make sure your kids temp is not above normal!

Carry said...

Well, I'm so glad to hear that you are on the mend and feeling better. I don't know much about chicken pox but they are bad. I am totally with you on vaccinate side.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

100% with you.

Get better soon.

BaltimoreGal said...

People who have further concerns or don't understand vaccinations can check out Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Institute for Vaccine Safety was established there in 1997. I've referred this to many people who want data or facts to help with decisions.

This institute's mission is to provide an INDEPENDENT assessment of vaccines and vaccine safety to help educate physicians, the public and the media about key issues surrounding the safety of vaccines and to work toward preventing disease using the safest vaccines possible.

You can find the most updated news about vaccine recalls, vaccine studies and testing, and publications from the institute.

Jennifer said...

Well, I got all my vaccinations and I never got autism or anything else bad from them, so they must be good, right?