Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Memories—childhood before modern vaccines

If  you're anti-vaccine, please check out this interactive map about outbreaks of easily preventable diseases. Most vaccines weren't available when I was a child (except for small pox) and I had measles, mumps, whooping cough, chicken pox and scarlet fever; my sister and many friends and relatives had polio; in the early 60s I had a baby born with multiple defects from my having been exposed to measles—he died. My children only had chicken pox which now has a vaccine. As an adult I got tetanus vaccine and boosters. My grandmother’s brother died from stepping on a nail in the barn and got lockjaw and left a widow and 3 children.  Her other brother died of diphtheria when he was 17.  Both diseases are now preventable with vaccines.  My cousin Jimmy died of polio in 1949 and the affects of polio followed my sister all her life, and probably shortened it.  I never miss my flu shot--it's a killer of the elderly. As an adult I got a shingles vaccine after seeing the horrible pain it causes. I personally know two  people who didn't get the shingles vaccine and got it in their eyes (it can affect any part of the body). Vaccines are so successful that today parents don't realize the damage, death and disability infectious diseases can cause by jumping on the anti-vaccine bandwagon. They've never seen a child blinded by measles, made deaf from mumps, and if they've seen an iron lung it's in a medical museum.


Shingles: While the rash itself usually lasts two to three weeks, people often go on to have permanent pain in the area of the rash. This is known as neuralgia and is debilitating and very difficult to treat as it doesn’t respond to normal painkillers. Approximately one in 1,000 people over 70 will die from shingles

Tetanus:. Of 99 tetanus patients with complete information reported to CDC during 1987 and 1988, 68% were greater than or equal to 50 years of age, while only six were less than 20 years of age.

Whooping cough:  The CDC recommends that all adolescents and adults from age 11 and up receive a single booster dose of Tdap. In adolescents, Tdap should replace the usual tetanus booster shot that’s due around the same time. In adults, Tdap can be given at any time, although it may be better to wait a few years if a tetanus booster was recently given.

Influenza: Influenza is much more likely to result in hospitalization and death in the elderly than in young persons. As many as 35,000 excess geriatric deaths due to pneumonia and influenza occur during influenza epidemics each year. Medicare  expenditures for excess hospitalizations due to influenza are estimated to exceed $1 billion each year.


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