I remember getting vaccinated as a child. There was the painful shots that protected against a number of childhood diseases. I remember the smallpox vaccine that was given with an air gun and the polio one that tasted like weak water. And finally, the tuberculosis test where a small amount is injected into your arm and then they wait to see if there was a reaction.
Even though I received all of my vaccinations, I still got several of the childhood diseases. I came down with the chickenpox, measles, and the mumps. My parents told me that I was lucky to come down with them when I was young, especially the mumps. If you got them when you were older you could be affected “down there.”
Before vaccines, infectious diseases killed a lot more people than they do now. With the vaccines some of the infectious diseases have almost been eliminated off of the planet. So it’s hard to believe that some people are against vaccinating their children.
Because of this, some of the childhood diseases are making a comeback. It’s fine if people don’t want to vaccinate their own children. I guess they can just take chances with their children’s lives.
But it also can make these diseases more prevalent and expose other people’s children to the risk of getting them before they are able to get vaccinated.
Although not usually lethal, one of the dreaded childhood diseases is called pertussis, or whooping cough. It’s so named because the victim literally whoops as he coughs, trying to get air. Whooping cough is on the rise in several states. It has just claimed its tenth death in California.
According to CNN: “Whooping cough’s symptoms are hard to distinguish from the common cold – runny nose, congestion, sneezing, red, watery eyes, a mild fever and coughing.The coughs may have a high-pitched “whoop” sound when the sick person is trying to draw in the next breath of air. “
But some victims just have a cough that lasts for several weeks without developing this sign. Sometimes the infants who are the greatest risk for catching whooping cough who have not been vaccinated have to rely on “herd immunity” to avoid catching the disease. Herd immunity means that a certain level of individuals in a given population have been vaccinated against the disease.
There are two groups of people who are not getting the vaccine: those who choose not to and those in the lower socioeconomic groups who are usually minorities. The more people who don’t get vaccinated the more the herd immunity breaks down.
The solution to this outbreak is to get you and your children immunized. The vaccine does not last for life, so it’s a good idea for adults to get the shot too even though they have been immunized in the past.