Measles, one of the leading causes of deaths in young children, has once again gained the spotlight. Since the outbreak at Disneyland, parents and vaccine critics alike have started to stir the pot to the debate that has lasted for centuries.
Should we vaccinate our children? Is there a chance the immunization could harm them?
If you vaccinate your child, they would receive the MMR (measles – mumps – rubella) vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first dose is approximately 93% effective and two doses are 97% effective to prevent measles.
This just goes to show that immunizations are not going to protect everybody 100% of the time. If you end up sitting in a small waiting room at a doctor’s office next to a young child with measles, you cannot sit there with perfect faith that you won’t catch the airborne virus. To make matters worse, you may not realize you have caught the disease until about a week later.
The first symptoms of the disease are typically a high fever, runny nose, and a cough. As time passes, you could notice tiny white spots inside the cheeks of your mouth. The rash may eventually spread around your neck to reach your appendages.
Although measles sounds like a worsened version of the flu with a dose of a gross rash, the possible complications associated with measles are much more worrisome. These complications could include dehydration, different infections, and blindness.
If the side effects of this illness are so extreme, then why are parents skeptical of vaccinations? Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, who are against measles vaccinations, claim that they cause autism in children. However, this point is mute to the fact that there is no scientific evidence that such a problem is tied to the vaccine.
Children may also show up to school unvaccinated because immunizations are against their religion, or they could cause an allergic reaction in the child. Schools may also face issues when kids move in from a different state – some states have different requirements pertaining to vaccinations than other states.
Parents may also argue that vaccinations are too expensive – at certain doctor’s offices it could cost more than $100 for an immunization shot. The secret is to visit your local health department where you can typically receive a vaccine for a substantially cheaper amount.
Nurse Kenis Johnson from the Orion School District admitted that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, as a parent, when it comes time to vaccinate a child. “Schools may require your kid to get this shot, or that shot. The next year or so they’ll need another. And why not get the flu shot while you’re up to it?”
Although children claim to hate receiving shots – the needle can be a little daunting – they are only around in order to help.
Shouldn’t we just be thankful that we have some kind of protection against the measles virus? Centuries ago, we would be hoping to find someone with a mild case so that we could infect ourselves and have the virus run its course in the least harmful manner.
When the time comes to have those vaccinations done, have a Scooby Doo band-aid and a cookie at the ready for your kiddo. The best choice is still to vaccinate your child so that they can join the many adults who have never suffered from the measles.