Monday, August 27, 2012

Childhood Diseases

I clearly recall the commitment of my parents, especially my mother, to my getting fully vaccinated against a variety of diseases. Today's concern for Shingles amongst seniors should not be surprising since it's caused by the same virus to generate chicken pox, the source of the faint scar between my eyebrows.  So the virus is still in my body.

Seniors don't object to lining up for this new vaccine, having been indoctrinated by their parents as to the necessity of doing so.  Get in line and git 'er done.

Jonas Salk was quite the hero in 1952 when he developed the vaccine used against Polio.  The stories of the iron lung, the youngsters our age who walked on crutches or staggered along, or even the death of the infected caused great concern among parents.  Perhaps you, too, lined up in Mason City for the original injected dosage followed a couple years later by the oral vaccine.

That is the disease that rings the bell most loudly for our age, but our parents most likely could list many others that swept across the country wreaking havoc during their youth.  Although our parents would not likely have first-hand experience from the pandemic flu that killed close to a million people in 1917-18 they certainly heard about it from their own parents - if those parents survived.

Whole tribes of Native Americans disappeared when confronted with measles or other viruses for which they had not developed any natural immunity - or awareness.

It's a simple methodology: you learn from those affected and then carry the message forward.  All our mothers, all our parents, were attuned to the variety of scourges that could affect us and chose to protect us.  Many bore injection scars on the arm reflecting their having received the shot in a primitive process, but no one bore any shame from that scar.

We heard it from the parents, passed it on to our children albeit with less passion than we had heard, I suppose, and they to their own children, even less passionately.  You do not fear what you do not know/have not experienced directly.  And thus we are finding more and more parents putting their children and others at risk by opting out from the vaccination requirements.  They are mostly white women, well educated, Master's degree or higher, heavily oriented towards homeschooling and organic living.

As if it's a communist plot or something to listen to the medical community as to the risks and impact.  They fear autism.  A fear based on . . .  perhaps an actress espousing her beliefs on an afternoon TV show?  Think risk/reward: a few cases of autism or an entire generation wiped out by disease.  What do you choose?

We've been there.  Now it's up to us to sound the alarms.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.